The cupboard is bare at Feed Nova Scotia.

The provincial charity that supplies food to 147 agencies is at a crisis level with its supplies. Some of those food banks have had to turn families away because of the shortfall.

"It's reached a critically low level, and we don't use that expression very often," said Karen Theriault, director of development and communications for Feed Nova Scotia.

'Significant food shortage'

"We have a really significant food shortage right now. It's typical at this time of year to see things slow down, but it's especially steep and earlier than usual."

On a typical day Feed Nova Scotia sends out 8000 kg of food. They like to keep a three-to-four-week supply in the warehouse. At the moment it's more like two or three days.

Theriault said it's been quieter winter than usual for donations. Food prices have been higher, which affects people who donate as well as people looking for assistance.

Feed Nova Scotia

Feed Nova Scotia says the higher price of food makes things harder for people who want to donate and for people who need assistance. (Carsten Knox/CBC)

She's also seen more people using food banks who lost their jobs in Western Canada, as well as new families who've come from Syria and are trying to get by on meagre incomes.

Hearty foods are needed, such as pasta and sauce, canned meats, and hot and cold cereals. Theriault is hoping for some farm donations, especially with the introduction of the new farm tax credit.

"We're pleased to be working with the farming community to get the message out about the credit. Hopefully that will make it possible to turn surplus product into a donation."

People are generous

Theriault says the people of this province are generous and have proven it before.

"We know it's doable. If one out of every three Nova Scotians delivers one kilogram of food this week alone, that'll meet the need until September."  

Non-perishable donations can be dropped off at bins in most grocery stores, and both non-perishable and perishable donations can be brought directly to the Feed Nova Scotia warehouse. It's located at 213 Bedford Highway and is open during the work week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.