ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Food insecurity affects millions of Americans each year. Here in the Southern Tier, the issue is only getting worse.

Catholic Charities in Elmira served more than 1,000 households last month. The Salvation Army in Elmira had 2,080 visits from people in the same span. Both are teaming up with the food bank of the southern tier to help local families.

So, why are so many families struggling to put food on the table? A reduction of snap benefits and inflation could be to blame.

“It’s kind of a sign of the times I think, with the SNAP Benefits going down, inflation going up. It’s been hard for people to make those ends meet. We’re aware of that. We want to be able to help people and we just encourage people to come. A food pantry is maybe not what you think it is. So we have produce, we have dairy, we have meat. it’s not just canned goods,” said Katie Rhodes, Communications Coordinator of Catholic Charities.

For those looking for assistance, here’s what you need to know.

The Salvation Army food pantry is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We offer daily foods that everyone can get once a day everyday. and then we have monthly bags that we do every thirty days,” said Amber Burdick, Emergency Family Assistance Coordinator for The Salvation Army.

Catholic Charities has two locations. one on South Main Street and the other on High Street.

“We really want to be available for people to come and get food from the food pantries. There’s just a very simple intake process. Try to make it really easy and streamline for people to come and get food when they need it. There’s a menu to fill out. yYu tell us what you’d like. Then, our volunteers pack a box for you,” said Rhodes.

“Ever since the rise in the food and stuff like that, it’s kinda hard to keep food in the house, so we come to the Samaritan Center when we’re running low on food because we need to feed our kids and stuff,” said Elmira resident Angelique Smith-Jamison

For those looking to help, there are a few ways to go about it.

“We have a program we call bags of hope. So, they would reach out to us via our website and just let us know that they’re interested in doing a food drive or even a personal care drive,” Rhodes said.

“We are doing food Christmas basket this season too. Food and toy and we are having signups for that in October. The 24th through the 27th,” said Burdick.

For more information on Catholic Charities, visit cs-cc.org

For more information on The Salvation Army, visit easternusa.salvationarmy.org/empire

For more information on The Food Bank of the Southern Tier, visit foodbankst.org