Local food banks are asking you to consider putting them on your gift list this year, as many families are in need.

A recent Food Banks Canada report stated that roughly 850,000 people rely on food banks each month. Nearly half of that number are children.

Suzy Barrow used to be one of them. The mother of three started living on social assistance after injuring herself while working on the kill floor of a meat packaging plant.

“It really hurts as a parent to see your children go without,” said Barrow. “To get to a point where you know you have to depend on others to help you is really very difficult for anyone.”

Wendi Campbell of the Food Bank of Waterloo Region says her organization is noticing an increase in the number of families with children using services. She adds that the reasons they’re accessing services are very diverse.

Although there is a clear need, Waterloo Regional Staff are recommending cutbacks in food hamper funding in next year’s budget.

“Certainly, the discretionary dollars are in jeopardy,” said Pat Singleton of the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank. “It would have a huge impact on our emergency food hampers.”