SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — As inflation continues to strain Americans’ wallets and the holidays also adding financial stress, more and more people are utilizing local food pantries.

While the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has long passed, food pantries said they’re still seeing record demand.

In 2020, the Food Bank of Siouxland gave away 3.5 million pounds of food to members of the community in need and 2021 saw similar demand.

“While we don’t have our final numbers for the year, but we’re looking at least 2020 numbers if not more. While we saw a huge increase during the pandemic, those numbers have not slowed down,” said Valerie Petersen, associate director of the Food Bank of Siouxland.

“I would say on an average, we probably have maybe 50 new families a week,” said Diane Schoenrock, a volunteer for Morningside Lutheran Food Pantry.

During a recount on how many households were attending the Morningside Lutheran Food Pantry in July 2022, volunteers found that more than 700 households were in need.

“Everybody has a story. Maybe they lost a job, maybe they got hurt on their job, some people are here just for a week or two to help them get through the next week,” said Schoenrock.

With more people in need of food, many food pantries ran into supply and demand issues.

“In order for us to sustain our food pantry, we had to cut it down twice a month that they could come,” said Schoenrock.

The Food Bank of Siouxland distributes food to over 100 member agencies across 11 counties in the Siouxland area, helping thousands of people in need. Valerie Petersen said none of this would be possible without local support.

“Seeing the generosity of our community, I think that has stuck with me more than anything. Check presentations, and food drives, and people coming in and telling us we’re doing a good job, bringing donuts to the office, and just caring about what we’re doing for the larger community. I would say that’s what really stuck with me,” said Petersen.

Siouxlanders wanting to help can either donate their time or money to help those in need can do so by clicking here.