The Fredericton Food Bank is sending out a big thanks to all its virtual friends after an appeal on social media helped fill previously empty shelves.

Chris Fougere said the food bank was getting extremely low on donations earlier this week.

He said one of the staff members turned to social media to help raise awareness about the lack of food.

"Our shelves are very empty and our volunteer co-ordinator took a picture of them and put it up on Facebook and some people saw it and they passed it along and then their friends saw it and passed it along," Fougere said.

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The Fredericton Food Bank posted this photo of empty shelves on Facebook on Tuesday and asked for donations. (Facebook)

"It shows you the power of social media because within a day, 27,000 people had seen the photo."

Fougere said staff at the food bank are happy that shelves are starting to fill up. But he said the food bank is always seeking additional donations.

"It's important to know that the food bank is an ongoing thing," Fougere said.

"We provide food year round. So even if [people] can't donate right now or are away, or whatever, we will gladly take donations any time of the year. It's constant."

He said summer is typically a slow time of year. But Fougere said he's never seen the cupboards this bare with fewer donations and increasing demand.

"On a busy day, we have about 140 families come through in four and a half hours," he said.

"On a slower day, we’ll see about 60 families. Our average family size is between two and three, so that’s 180 people on a slow day that we feed."

Kirsten Greer is one of the growing number of Fredericton residents who rely on the food bank for help.

"To me and my family, it means quite a bit because where I come from, low income, I’m on social assistance, I have five kids," she said.

She said it was heartening to know that people responded to the call for donations.

"There are so many families out there that need and depend on the food bank," she said.

"I think it is a really good cause and that more people should donate, for sure. We thank the people that do donate, for sure."

Fougere said he wishes there was less business for the food bank.

"It would be nice if people didn't have to come [here]

, if people could get by without having to rely on outside agencies, if people could be self-sufficient on income assistance or minimum wage," he said.

"But sadly that day's not here yet."

He said beans, cereal and Kraft Dinner are the most urgently needed items at this time.