LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Across the country and across the Commonwealth, food banks are feeling the impact of rising inflation through an increase in demand.

According to James Quade, branch operations manager at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Lynchburg, the Midwest usually sees demand trends first and those rates can serve as a forecast for other areas.

Right now, the Midwest is up 30%. While Lynchburg is still behind, the food bank did see a 14% rise in demand in the span of the last month, Quade says.

“We’ve been having people who’ve never visited a food bank ever come for food assistance,” Quade told WFXR News. “They’re apologizing for visiting us. We’re here for that.”

Quade says the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank orders its stock months in advance and is ready for those new neighbors experiencing hunger.

“We don’t meet it today, we met that about eight months ago or nine months ago when we were planning for this very hour,” he said.

However, costs are rising for food banks too. According to Quade, the Lynchburg food bank’s transportation bill has nearly doubled, but the nonprofit continues to get funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and retail donations.

“Just get the word out to the community, the people who need assistance, that we’re here to help them,” Quade encouraged.

If you want to help, Quade says the organization is always looking for an extra set of hands. In fact, more than half of the food bank’s volunteers are college students who leave for the summer. To volunteer, follow this link.

If you’re looking for assistance, visit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank’s website and use the ‘Food Finder’ tool to track down a pantry near you.