FARGO, ND (KXNET) — The Great Plains Food Bank reports it helped nearly 140,000 people in 2022, despite food donations dropping to lows not seen in a decade.

Serving North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota, the food bank notes the number of those helped was the second-highest in the organizations history. But the total amount of food distributed fell by over three million pounds, forcing the food bank to buy almost two million pounds of food to make up for the difference.

Specifically, the number of those needing food assistance increased by 14 percent last year while the amount of food distributed by the Great Plains Food Bank fell from 15.2 million pounds in 2021 to 11.9 million pounds in 2022.

“Reviewing our statistics from last year confirmed two things to be true that we were expecting: The need remains high while food donations remain low,” said Great Plains Food Bank CEO Melissa Sobolik. “While I am thrilled we were able to meet the high demand for food assistance and to find the means to feed more than 138,000 individuals last year, the reality that both our organization and our clients are still facing challenges from inflation and high food prices is very much a concern.”

The Great Plains Food Bank is encouraging public donations on National Giving Hearts Day Thursday, February 9. All donations that day will be matched, allowing the public to have double the impact in the fight to end hunger. More information is available here.

Currently, hunger impacts one in six individuals living in the state of North Dakota, including one in four children.

Now in its 39th year, the Great Plains Food Bank serves as North Dakota’s only food bank. Its partner network includes nearly 200 food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, and other charitable feeding programs operating more than 100 communities across N.D. and Clay County, Minn.