The food bank in St. Stephen, N.B., has seen a jump in demand this winter. (CBC)

Surging home heating bills in New Brunswick this winter have meant a real pinch for some households, causing the food bank in St. Stephen to see a spike in demand.

Heating bills for many homes are up 20 per cent, says Donna Linton, coordinator with the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County.

That means less money for other things. The food bank is now a safety net for more than 200 families a month.

"We've been feeding some of the same families for years now, and even if they're working, the wages aren't enough to sustain today's grocery prices," Linton said.

Nearly four tonnes of food goes out the door each month. On one day in February, 48 families came to the food bank looking for help, a one-day record in St. Stephen.