Hay River, N.W.T.'s soup kitchen is being forced to temporarily shut down its food-bank program because it doesn't have enough supplies to meet demand.

The hampers it gives away, sometimes as many as 20 a day, hold staples such as meat, soup, bread, and rice to keep a family going for a few days at a time.

But these days, those staples are in short supply.

"There's lots of salad dressing, but it's not much use if there's no salad to go with it," said Laura Rose, who runs the Hay River soup kitchen.

She says demand for the hampers has been steadily increasing over the past year and food donations always go down in the summer.

"It's like we need to have Christmas in July and it doesn't happen unless you go out and find it, and I haven't got that time."

Arthur Abel, who is unemployed and sleeps on the couches of friends and relatives, says the food bank helps him and others. 

"Some people have trouble asking for help, so usually friends or relatives would come here and pick up food and go give it to them," he says.

Darin Krengnektak helps out at the soup kitchen and works odd carpentry jobs to get by. He says he relies on the food-bank program too.

"I've just got to find different ways to improvise, I guess, on food," he said. "That's why I go fishing a lot nowadays."

Rose says she has extended hours at the soup kitchen so more people can make it to meals, while the food bank is shut down.

She said she hopes to build up enough supplies to restart the program in the fall.