GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Local food banks are seeking donations as they try to keep up with rising demand for their services.

Greenville Branch of the Food Bank said they distributed more than 10 million meals in the past fiscal year. They said even with that output, they’re still not meeting the increased needs in the five counties they serve.

The Greenville Branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina said they’ve seen approximately a 25% increase in need from pre-pandemic levels, saying 1 in 8 are facing food insecurity in the five counties they serve.

“With the rising cost of what food is costing for individuals to go and purchase, it has just been a huge demand for food and the food insecurity to help in the community,” said Food Bank Greenville Branch Director Whykeshia White.

Grifton Mission Ministries is one of Food Bank’s many partnerships. They said they provide food to more than 2,000 people in the community each week, from six different counties.

“They have to choose. Can I pay rent this month and get by on Spaghetti-O’s or can I come out here twice a week and get some produce and some fruits, on occasion when it’s available, get some meats, and put better food on the table for my children,” said Elaine Elliott Tarlton, Grifton Mission Ministries Co-Director.

“So you may not hear a whole lot about COVID anymore, but yet now it’s what COVID’s done to the people. They’re facing a real issue now. ‘Hey what do we pay, do we pay the power bill or rent or do we go hungry or feed our children or whatever?’ So they’re faced with the reality, this is where we ended up,” Grifton Mission Ministry Co-Director Billy Tarlton said.

Food Bank and Grifton Mission Ministries said they are always taking taking donations of food, money and volunteer time.

“One person can’t do it all, you know? A community can, and the need for volunteers is great. You can’t do it without them,” said Elaine Elliott Tarlton.

A list of Food Bank donation items can be found here.