AKRON -- It's inventory day at the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, but after the Christmas holiday, the volunteers have less counting to do.
There are empty shelves in the produce cooler, and there is plenty of empty space in the warehouse.
"Hunger doesn't know the holidays, so even though there's an emergency need for food this time of year, there is the need for food all year long," Laura Bennett with the Food Bank says. "People are always in need, either the unemployed or the underemployed."
And we're talking about families, from seniors all the way to children. The numbers are startling. This year alone, this food bank has given out almost 18 million meals in eight counties.
More than 240,000 people are listed as food insecure, meaning they don't know where their next meal is coming from. 84,000 of them are children.
And while Congress debates the issue of the fiscal cliff, Bennett says she's concerned the number of families needing help will only go higher.
"Any time there is uncertainty, that affects us and the non profits in the area who care for people who are most at risk and most at need, the sooner we're able to have some security and certainty, the better off we are knowing that we'll be able to serve people in the coming months."
Bennett says they're seeing more and more middle class families coming for food.
A reminder, the food banks are flooded with donations from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but the need is still there the rest of the year. The best way to help is by donating cash to your local food bank, and then they can buy the foods they need.