The time to give is now.
The cupboards are running bare at Friends In Need Food Bank, which serves low-income families and individuals in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Several crates at the food bank's Maple Ridge's and Pitt Meadows depots sit empty as Friends In Need forges through a summer-long lull.
Friends In Need operations supervisor Chuck Griffith said in a perfect world, all of the crates would be full of food.
"In a perfect world, all of these [crates] would be full. In relation, most of this wouldn't last me a month," Griffith said.
"I've got maybe two weeks worth of meal in a tin, I've got a half a day's worth of vegetables, I'm completely out of Chunky Soup, I've got maybe three, maybe three-and-a-half weeks' worth of small soups."
At Christmas time, due in large part to the generosity of the people from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, the depots are normally chock-full of food donations and Griffith would have back stock, he said.
This isn't the case when the warmer months roll around. Griffith said people are often away on holidays and aren't thinking about donating to the food bank.
"Everybody goes away for the summer, so it's not a time when food banks are in the forefront of people's minds because they've got their own lives, and school's not in session," he said.
When school is out, students and staff aren't doing food drives, which normally helps Friends In Need.
Founded in 1989, Friends In Need Food Bank operates out of a 3,200-square-foot warehouse in Maple Ridge and helps 5,600 registered clients, 1,700 of whom are children under 12 years of age.
The local food bank also supports a secondary depot out of Grace Community Church in Pitt Meadows.
Friends In Need distributes to more than 700 families and singles in a month and provides supplies to seven other community agencies and programs.
The Pitt Meadows depot is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the one in Maple Ridge is open Tuesdays through Friday.
Griffith said 99 per cent of Friends In Need's clients come to the Maple Ridge depot to pick food up. Clients are eligible to come into the depots once a week.
"What we give them each week is produce, bread, buns, sweets, and extras [such as syrups and condiments]," Griffith said.
Once a month, clients are also entitled to, on top of their weekly pickup, a hamper that consists of three-to-five days worth of food.
Tops on the donation wish list, Griffith said, include Chunky Soup, canned vegetables, heat-and-eat items such as cans of chili or ravioli, dry foods such as rice and pasta, canned tomatoes, and oatmeal.
Griffith said in today's "rush-rush world" food banks can fall off the radar.
"A lot of people still don't know where we are," Griffith said.
There are plenty of ways to drop food off, including in donation bins located at most local retail grocery store locations, or at the Maple Ridge depot at 22726 Dewdney Trunk Rd. or Pitt Meadows depot at 12240 Harris Rd. Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m.
For more about Friends In Need, visit: www.friendsneedfood.com.