SALEM, Va. – Many would say it's supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but it is also one that can have a chilling effect on a family's budget.
Amanda Allen, marketing and communications coordinator of Feeding America Southwest, said families in need are often having to choose between eating or heating.
“Cold weather and increases in utility bills make it especially challenging for those that we serve,” Allen said.
Allen said about 350 partner programs including God's Provision, a food pantry, have been key to helping them meet the increased needs in the community.
“We have been serving the community here in Rocky Mount for over 20 years. We have been partnering with the food bank, and because of that partnership we have been able to feed over 400 families a month,” said Robert Meredith, pastor of Rocky Mount Church of God.
Meredith says if you'd like to donate you can go to http://www.rmcog.com/give.
This week, the food bank has been getting a lot more calls from people wondering how they can help in this "season of giving."
“Folks will ask us what's better for me to give: Food or funds? They're both absolutely wonderful and we always need food and we always need funds. But funds are something we can use to take advantage of the purchasing relationships we have,” Allen said.
Those dollars, Allen said, can be stretched a little further than in your average retail environment.
Allen wants to remind everyone that every dollar donated to the food bank provides six meals.