Food banks across the state are preparing to meet demand during the holiday season.
At the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon the need for food assistance has grown 15 percent every year since the recession began in 2008, said executive director Ronald Raleigh.
With unemployment coming down this year, however, demand has grown only three percent so far, he said.
"People say, 'oh, well there's more jobs out there.' Well, what's the difference between 9 percent unemployment or 8 percent unemployment? To that 8 percent of people, the recession is still there and they're still needing assistance," Raleigh said.
Additionally, food banks are bracing for an end-of-year spike in demand, after a temporary increase in food stamp benefits expired November 1st.
"The biggest impact is going to happen when the federal government gets back together at the beginning of the year and they cut out 20 percent more in the farm bill, if that particular piece of legislation goes through," Raleigh said.
All food bank directors appreciate donations during the holidays, he said, when the need is most acutely felt. But he hopes donors will remember that the need doesn't go away in January and February.
Contributors: Erica O'Neal