PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The North Side Food Pantry on Brighton Road has served as many as 1000 families in a month.

During the holidays it can be more.

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This year, the pantry says, they have been hit extra hard, and right now some of the shelves are empty.

Jay Poliziani, of the North Side Commons Ministries, that runs the pantry, explains why the demand is so high. “Families are hit with having to buy toys and utility bills that aren’t there during the summer. So they’re looking for extra assistance, some people we don’t see during the summer we’re seeing now.”

The food pantry is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Yesterday was extremely busy and the fear is next week will be more of the same. That’s why the organizers are asking for help right now.

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“When the holidays come there’s extra pressure for families to make the holiday meals so we need things like cake mixes, jams and things like side dishes, like mashed potatoes.” said Poliziani.

Some of the shelves are literally bare right now.

They are the shelves that hold desserts, cookies and sweets – that really are considered neccesary this time of year. And because schools are closed, many children are home from school – so there’s no free breakfasts or free lunch. That means there’s a greater need for jelly to go with the extra supply of peanut butter on hand, and cereal or oatmeal.

Jay Poliziani says the best donation is money, which will allow the Food Pantry to buy exactly what they need, but they organization is grateful for any donation.

The doors to the Shelter are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They are located at 1601 Brighton Avenue.

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Lynne Hayes-Freeland