CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With federal unemployment cuts looming, combined with a slashing of food stamp benefits a few weeks ago, charities and food pantries have started seeing a higher demand.
Now that the holiday season is over, there's even more of an added strain.
For a lot of people, the holiday season is a season of giving. In fact, some local charities see an up tick in donations during this time of year.
"The holidays are actually the biggest time of year for giving for us. About 60% of the monetary donations that we receive come during the holiday season," said Sarah Cook with Freestore Foodbank.
"That's a good time of year for people coming together and giving," said Liz Carter of St. Vincent de Paul.
But, once the holidays are said and done, it's a different story as donations start to fall, and the demand for help isn't falling with it.
"There's positively a drop off. It's just like going off the edge of a cliff. You get that drop off but, for the people that we're helping, there isn't a drop off," added Carter.
That's why both Freestore Foodbank and St. Vincent de Paul try to plan ahead with programs like food drives to help minimize the impact.
"We're prepared the best to our ability to serve even in times when there are slower donations," Cook added.
The drop off in donations after the Christmas season isn't the only thing hitting food pantry shelves pretty hard. The cut to the federal food stamp program is also making the shelves even more bare.
"That is a big concern," Carter told FOX19.
It's a concern so big it's leaving Carter and her staff having to make tough decisions.
"You have to start making decisions of, how do you manage that? Do you give a family a little less than you might have given before? How do you stretch that," Carter said.
Between both of these charities, they help a total of nearly 500,000 people a year with food, clothing, money for bills and much more.
FOX19 is hosting a food drive to help during this slower donation time period. Anyone can donate non-perishable items at any Kroger location through January 4th to benefit St. Vincent de Paul.