Before heading to the mall for holiday shopping, local food banks are asking people to make one extra stop.
According to Susan Brucia, director of outreach at nearby St. Barnabas the Apostle Convent of Bellmore, there has been an increase in families reaching out for help this holiday season.
"There's a big increase," said Brucia, a Merrick resident. "I'd say at least a 10 percent increase in households are asking for help over last year."
Brucia blamed the increase in families in need on the economy, noting that more middle class families are reaching out than ever.
"It's absolutely more from the middle class coming in," she explained. "I even have people who were once making six figure salaries coming to us for food and household items."
In a crucial time, Brucia said those donating need to remember that struggling families need more than just food. Household items and personal care products are in high demand.
"It's what the food stamps don't cover that's really important," Brucia said. "Detergent, toiletries, paper plates and napkins - we always need this."
Where to donate:
- : 3945 Jerusalem Ave., Seaford
- : 80 Hicksville Rd., Seaford
- St. Barnabas the Apostle: 2320 Bedford Ave., Bellmore
- St. Bernard's Catholic Church: 3100 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown
What to donate:
- Paper goods: toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, paper plates
- High protein foods: tuna fish, peanut butter, jelly
- Low sodium foods: vegetables, soups
- Fruit: fruit juices, canned fruit