BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Several Sioux Falls charities are seeing a higher demand for food assistance.

That’s why KELOLAND News checked in with a smaller to community to see what the need is there.

At the Brookings County Food Pantry, families can visit up to three times a year.

Last year, households visited the food pantry 1,041 times.

This year, it’s had 960 visits, and there are still nearly two months left in the year.

KELOLAND News visited the Brookings County Food Pantry on a Wednesday morning.

Staff were getting ready for the doors to open at 1:00 PM.

Assistant director Deb Brandwein was bagging up muffins to offer families along with a variety of other foods.

“We’ve got Hamburger Helper, we’ve got canned fruits and vegetables, we’ve got meat,” Brandwein said.

Food pantry director Gail Seeklander says the pantry saw 200 new households last year.

This year, 187 families have visited the pantry for the first time, and 2023 isn’t over yet.

“Some are new to town. Some, maybe their job doesn’t pay enough to buy groceries like they normally did,” Seeklander said.

While the pantry gets food donations, it’s also spent about $20,000-25,000 more on groceries this year compared to the same time last year.

Seeklander says inflation and increased need are both behind the increase.

But with each carton of eggs or box of cereal, local families are getting the help they need.

“It makes you feel good, right here (points at heart). It makes them feel good. I see tears sometimes when I’m going through a list with somebody who’s desperate. They’ve got kids at home and I get lots of hugs, and I like that,” Brandwein said.

If you’d like to donate money or food to the pantry, click the link.