About 27,000 brown bags are being distributed to homes in Sarnia, Point Edward, Corunna, and Bright's Grove this week.
They'll arrive with the free weekly newspaper to kick off the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive for the Inn of the Good Shepherd.
Executive Director Myles Vanni said the collection helps restock shelves after a summer lull.
"This Thanksgiving Food Drive is a pretty critical one of us," said Vanni. "Even during normal times, the food donations that come in over the summer are pretty low. People are thinking about holidays, not hunger. So, our pantry shelves get to be quite low and Thanksgiving is that first chance to replenish it and help bring in stock to carry us through to Christmas."
The Inn is currently assisting over 2,100 people at its food bank each month and 900 of them are children.
"Inflation and the higher food costs are really creating an issue for folks. We're at about a 20 to 25 per cent increase in the number of people using the food bank," he said.
Vanni said they've seen donations drop and the need climbs.
"Because of inflation, donations are lower and lower. People are spending more of their money on their food budget, they haven't got extra to buy a little bit extra and leave at the barrel at the grocery store on their way out," he said.
Vanni said the most needed items are peanut butter, jam, canned meat, canned pasta, pasta noodles and sauce, kids snacks, juice boxes, crackers, soup, stews and side dishes.
"Prior to COVID we would spend about $5,000 a month on food and through the last year and a half, we're averaging about $20,000 to $25,000. Just in the last two months it's almost $80,000 we spent on food just to keep basics and a supply on the shelves for folks," he said.
The bags can be filled with non-perishable food items and dropped off at grocery stores, fire halls, The Inn on John Street or The Inn of the Good Shepherd's Lodge on Confederation Street.
Vanni said some local food drives have also been planned.
"This Saturday [September 30], at New Horizons Church on Maxwell Street, they'll have a drive through, drop off food drive. RE/MAX is also doing their Sherwood Village food drive Saturday, October 7, at the plaza at Finch Drive and Wellington Street," Vanni said.
Monetary donations can also be made online at theinnsarnia.ca
The food drive runs until October 16 and the goal is to raise 50,000 pounds of food.