PONTOTOC, Miss (WTVA) -- The Pontotoc County Food Pantry has been helping needy families for years, now the pantry is in need of help.
Volunteers said the emergency pantry is low in food and finances because of the increase in families needing assistance.
Most shelves at the Pontotoc County Food Pantry are half empty. One shelf marked "Cereal for Families with Children" is bare and other shelves nearby are missing most of its contents.
Volunteers said the pantry is feeling the pinch of high food costs and a sluggish economy.
"We (are helping) more extended family members and a lot of it is people that have moved back in with parents or grandparents," said Carolyn Mounce, volunteer.
The pantry is used for emergencies only. Families are given up to three days worth of food. While there are some exceptions, families are limited to assistance only twice a year.
Even with those guidelines, organizers said the number of people needing help has more than doubled.
"It is a new group of people every week that comes through. That tells you the need that's there," said Mounce.
While the pantry is in need of food, volunteers said their greatest need now is money.
"Because we buy supplies like sugar, shortening, meal, flour and we try to give them a meat -either ground beef or chicken-we have to purchase all of that," said Mounce.
The pantry is not federally funded so everything the pantry needs to operate is donated or purchased.
Volunteer Adley Steward said she could not bare the thought of not being to able to help a family in need.
"Children always touch our hearts. Just like today with children coming in. (It) was such a joy to have cake mix to give them and frosting to put on that cake. We are blessed to be able to serve others," said Steward.
Last month the pantry helped close to 300 people who needed food for one reason or another.