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Helping Those In Need A Bigger Challenge This Holiday Season

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Harvest Of Hope Food Pantry

Donations are handed out at the Harvest Of Hope Food Pantry on Nov. 24, 2013. (credit: CBS)

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – This year Colorado has had both devastating wildfires and crushing floods, and because of that more people need help as the holidays approach.

Food banks and other charitable organizations say they are feeling the weight of the new population seeking assistance — fire and flood victims.

“We were averaging between 15 and 20 to 25 families last year and now we have grown to about 35 to 40 every day, 5 days a week,” said Harvest of Hope Pantry director Barbara O’Neil.

The Boulder food pantry’s shelves are stocked and ready for the new week, but O’Neil says even with everything they have in stock now the supplies won’t last long.

“I know perfectly well that in another six weeks we are going to be needing more food because it comes in and goes out,” she said.

O’Neil said they are seeing a direct result from FEMA disaster assistance running out for many families victimized by the floods.

“Now that (the funding) has kind of gone by the wayside, as it would be expected to we are seeing reality hit. So these folks are now coming in and it happens to be during Thanksgiving and going into the holidays,” she said.

While community donations remain strong, agencies like Harvest of Hope say it’s the growing demand that concerns them. They aren’t sure whether all of the donations can keep up.

“I don’t think (the need) is going to go away anytime soon,” she said.

Charitable organizations CBS4 spoke with over the weekend said a cut in food stamps at the beginning of the month has led to an increased demand for some, and the government shutdown has also made things difficult for other Colorado families.

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