The Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank is noticing barer shelves than usual. 

It is normal for the holiday season to be one of the busier times of the year for the food bank, but with the cost of living skyrocketing in the past few months, the demand for their services has reached a new high. 

Kassandra Gartner, executive director of the food bank, says they are providing roughly 40 per cent more food hampers compared to last year. 

"It has been a really tough year for a lot of folks," said Gartner. "A lot of folks just aren't able to make ends meet so they are coming to us for help. " 

"We are doing approximately 310 hampers a month."

Food hampers are a massive undertaking for the food bank that includes fresh items such as milk, meat, and fruits and more practical items like toilet paper, canned food, and pasta. 

Right now, the food bank is finding some shortages among those items. 

"It's the first time in a long time that we actually do have bare shelves, that is not the norm for our food bank," said Gartner. "Urgent needs include small jars of jam, one-litre boxes of juice, healthy cereal, kraft dinner, and pork and beans...those are hamper staples." 

There is a bit of a bright spot, however, as they do have an overabundance of some items. 

"This is a first for our food bank, [we need] anything but soup," said Gartner. "I have got enough soup to last for years, and I have a lot of pasta." 

"The concern right now is that the food that is coming in is also going out right now...nothing is actually making it to inventory." 

There are plenty of ways to help support the food bank. You can drop off donations directly at their location, find volunteers in local grocery stores, or even mail in cheques to help them get funds to buy fresh food. 

The ninth annual Community Christmas will also allow people to contribute to the food bank. They'll be collecting toys and food donations at the North Central Co-op food store on Tuesday (Nov. 29) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.