FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Help Center in Florence is one of nine food pantries across the Tennessee Valley that will benefit from Bank Independent’s Food Share Campaign.

News 19 has partnered with Bank Independent for this fundraiser to help local food pantries.

Cindy Young, Food Coordinator for The Help Center in Florence, told News 19 that their volunteers help clothe and feed dozens of people every week.

“We are open three days a week Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning from 8:30 until noon, and we can serve from 50 to a hundred families on each of those days,” Young said.

Young later said that they helped feed just over 20,000 people in 2021. However, that number is expected to jump to around 30,000 in 2023.

“We’ve already seen that surge happen, and we expect it to continue to grow,” Young said. “My job is to find the food.”

Young told News 19 that finding enough food to feed the community has gotten more difficult over the past few years. However, programs like Bank Independent’s Food Share campaign are one of the most impactful ways to fight hunger across the Tennessee Valley.

“We’ve had to cut back on the amount of food we’ve given our families just simply because of the lack of availability,” Young said. “These food drives certainly boost the amount of food that we can give our families.”

Jennifer Tittle, Warehouse Manager for the Food Bank of North Alabama’s Shoals branch, told News 19 that the number of people coming to their agencies has skyrocketed since December, 2022.

“Since the beginning of they year, we’ve seen a spike in agencies seeing more clients,” Tittle said. “They’ve all pretty much grown by at least 10 or 20 percent, some up to 50 percent. So it’s grown quite a bit since the beginning of the year.”

To donate to the campaign, you can find a full list of drop-off locations here.