It's like the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons never ended at some Mid-Columbia food banks.
The Tri-Cities Food Bank still is seeing the same large volume of families that they helped during the holiday season.
And they're not alone.
"We are just being bombarded," said Anne Montgomery, director and founder of Pasco's Golden Age Food Share.
They are averaging about 460 senior families a week. That's about 30 more a week than during the holiday months.
John Neill, food bank executive director, said they are opening early and closing later as they hand out food to as many as 200 families a day when the Kennewick, Richland and Benton City food banks are open.
"We serve food until the line is gone," he said.
Normally, the food demand drops between January and the spring when migrant farm worker families arrive for the agricultural season, said Neill.
But this is the first year he remembers that it hasn't.
Now they're wondering how they will handle the new families they know are coming in a few weeks.
Most of the demand has been at the Kennewick Food Bank, where on one day last week, 94 families representing about 350 people showed up to get food, Neill said.
And that's the smallest of the three food banks. The metal building at 420 Deschutes Ave. in Kennewick is aging and is beginning to have maintenance issues in addition to the space crunch.
The Tri-Cities Food Bank plans to soon start a fundraising campaign to pay for a bigger food bank building in Kennewick.
Neill said they are hoping to find another building that can be remodeled slightly to provide some customer privacy.
Also, Neill worries that food drives that have helped build up their stock are ending.
More food drives will be needed to meet the expected demand this spring, he said.
LeEllen Bradshaw, director of the Pasco Community Service Food Bank, said she hasn't seen the usual after-holiday drop in food demand for the past several years.
"Our need for food is exceptionally high," she said.
The food bank, run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is serving 75 to 111 families from Benton and Franklin counties a week, Bradshaw said. That's about what they saw through the holiday season.
Bradshaw believes the recession is a big factor. They are seeing families with one or more of the adults having recently lost jobs, she said.
Many of the families the food bank serves work in the agricultural and ag-related industry and that means needs are particularly high between harvest seasons, she said.
Bradshaw said they particularly need protein items, such as meat and dairy products.
The Golden Age Food Share serves many diabetics on dialysis and cancer patients. Montgomery said they are most in need of Ensure, which goes to those customers, and food for diabetics.
At the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Bank in Pasco, Sina Pierret, the society's president and food bank manager, said they helped about 660 families this week.
Although it's down slightly from the 700 families they served weekly at the holidays and in January, they are still serving about 100 more families a week than they did last fall.
In January alone they had 271 new families come in for help.
Now the food bank is opening an hour earlier, and Pierret said they may add another day.
"We cannot continue to handle the volume," she said.
Pierret said they also are short on protein products, and also are in special need of diapers and baby food.
And it's not just food. She said they provided more than $4,000 worth of electricity, medication and transportation help to about 80 families in January. That's twice the normal amount.
* St. Vincent de Paul Society, 1120 W. Sylvester St., Pasco, 99301; Note that donation is for the food bank.
* Tri-Cities Food Banks: Kennewick Food Bank, 420 Deschutes Ave., Kennewick 99336; Richland Food Bank, 321 Wellsian Way, Richland 99352; Benton City Food Bank, 712 10th St., Benton City 99320.
* Pasco Community Service Food Bank: To Seventh-day Adventist Community Services at 605 Road 36, Pasco, 99301.
* Golden Age Food Share: dropped off at 504 S. Oregon Ave., Pasco, or mailed to P.O. Box 4467, Pasco, 99301.
TO GET FOOD
* St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, 115 W Lewis St., Pasco: open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays.
* Tri-Cities Food Banks: Kennewick Food Bank, at 420 Deschutes Ave., and Richland Food Bank, at 321 Wellsian Way, open 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Benton City Food Bank, 712 10th St., open noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
* Pasco Community Service Food Bank, 605 Road 36, Pasco: 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.
* Golden Age Food Share, 504 S. Oregon Ave., Pasco, 8 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Thursdays.