Missouri’s Food banks always see an increase in need and donations this time of year, but the head of the Food Bank Association says this whole year was especially hard.

To find what food bank serves your area, click here. Image courtesy of Missouri Food Banks Association

Director of the Missouri Food Bank Association says disasters and a poor economy have made this year particularly difficult for the six food banks in Missouri. Director Scott Baker says the need this year has jumped by nearly 200 thousand people. He says in a typical year, the state will provide for between 700,000 and 800,000 people, but this year, and last, were close to a million.

He says the donations haven’t been as strong this year as they were in the past. He says nearly half of all money and food comes into the food banks in November and December, so Spring and Summer disasters were hard on the food bank. He says fifty percent of all donations come in November and December, so May and August disasters can nearly clean out reserves.

He says the food banks and pantries appreciate all the donations that come in, but the monitary donations go farther. He says the assocation has ties with wholesale food distributors that allows the association to provide seven meals for a dollar, which is much cheaper than what most people pay for canned goods.

He says in the last few days before Thanksgiving and through the holiday season, there is a big push for items like turkeys, cranberry sauce, vegetables and other holiday tradition foods. He says those types of drives are great this time of year, but the need lasts year-round.  He says the weak deer harvest this year is also bad news for the food banks that benefit from the Share the Harvest program. He says protein is an area that food banks are consistently lacking in. He says peanut butter is a good food to donate because it’s a source of protein, and kids can easily prepare it themselves.

AUDIO Allison Blood reports. Mp3 [1:02]