Published: Nov 02, 2011 10:53 PM EDT
Updated: Nov 02, 2011 11:02 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Southwest Florida food banks are starving for inventory. A slash in government commodities and community donations are leaving some of the primary pantries in the area depleted.

Once stocked shelves are now bare at the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

"Government commodities are down, our food donations have been down from the food industry. So it's just been a combination of things that's really hit our inventory hard," Harry Chapin Food Bank President Al Brislain said Wednesday.

It's hitting at a time when the demand to feed Southwest Florida's hungry is growing by about 10 percent.

Salvation Army of Collier County says its stock room is at it's lowest level to date, forcing the agency to turn away some families in need.

"The Salvation Army of Collier has been here almost 30 years, and that's the emptiest it has ever been," Chris Nind of the Salvation Army of Naples said.

Nation's Association Charities in Fort Myers is also feeling the pinch. It's dipping into it's Thanksgiving supplies in order to meet current demands.
Reverend Israel Suarez of Nation's Association is now pleading to the public for help.

"That's the definition of America. The definition of America is no matter what we're going to survive and from what we got, we're going to give," Suarez said Wednesday.

CCMI and the Salvation Army of Lee and Hendry Counties are also seeing significant shortages in their food banks.

For more information on how to donate:

Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida
2126 Alicia Street
Fort Myers
239-334-7007

Salvation Army of Collier County
3180 Estey Avenue
Naples
239-775-9447

Salvation Army of Lee & Hendry Counties
10291 McGregor Blvd
Fort Myers
239-278-1551

Nation's Association Charities
4725 Palm Beach Blvd
Fort Myers
239-332-7575

Community Cooperative Ministries Incorporated
3429 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Fort Myers
239-332-0441