The Tri-Cities Food Bank volunteers see an increasing demand for food on the horizon.
John Neill, the food bank executive director, said it's not certain why food is usually in such high demand in August at the Kennewick, Richland and Benton City food banks.
The leading theory is that more food is needed because children who usually eat at school are eating at home, he said.
Already, the three food banks are seeing shortages of meat and sliced bread, Neill said.
Each week, they provide about 16 tons of food to about 1,100 families, Neill said, noting demand has increased by 15 percent over last year.
And in August, demand likely will be higher than last year, he said.
More new families are coming to the food banks this month than normal, Neill said. "That tells me that the need's expanding," he said.
The demand also is increasing at other area food banks.
Bob Fuller, Othello Food Bank vice chairman and administrator, said in Othello 150 to 200 more families have signed up to get food than at the same time last year.
Last year, 1,034 families were receiving food, he said. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, it looks like it will be well over that. The organization aids families in the 99344 ZIP code.
"We are doing the best we can with what we've got," Fuller said.
At times, the food bank is serving 120 to 170 families a week, Fuller said.
The growing season means more migrants move to the Othello area, Fuller said.
And this year, the typical winter decrease in clients did not occur.
But funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is down. Fuller is waiting to hear back on three grant applications sent out recently.
Meanwhile, he and other volunteers are looking for food and cash donations five days a week to fill the need they see on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m.
"Our shelves look bare," he said.
The Othello Food Bank ran out of meat last week, Fuller said. He just authorized buying more hot dogs and lean hamburger.
The Connell Food Bank is serving 180 to 230 families a week, about 80 families more than a year ago, said Darlene Harrington, Connell Food Bank director.
Donations aren't keeping up with need, which peaked before Christmas and has been steady ever since, she said.
The food bank has bought a lot of the food it gives out twice a month to families in the Connell Post Office service area, Harrington said.
Bob Wlaznak, St. Vincent de Paul Society president, said August actually is a relatively good month for the Pasco food bank.
Many families who come there are farmworkers, and summer is when they are employed, he said.
Still, demand is steady, Wlaznak said. This week the food bank gave out 500 boxes, each filled with 60 pounds of food.
And more families have been asking for assistance this year than last year.
Wlaznak said some weeks 700 families have come to get food.
To help meet the Tri-Cities Food Banks' August need, the Kiwanis Club of the Horse Heaven Hills is planning a fundraiser July 17-18.
Club President Doug Brown said fares from the J&S Dreamland Express Train for that weekend will be donated to the nonprofit.
The fare for the train, which starts at the east end of Columbia Park near the fishing pond, is $1 for adults 18 and over and 50 cents for those 17 and under, he said.
Neill said the need for food doesn't seem likely to subside anytime soon.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; email@example.com