160 boxes full of groceries were dropped off at this food bank today

It's a huge boost for the food bank in North Sydney, N.S., especially given its stocks were low before the arrival of the all the groceries.

'It's like Christmas!' said Robert Dolomont, the director of the food bank in North Sydney, N.S.

Food bank director Robert Dolomont was happy to begin restocking shelves. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

The food bank in North Sydney, N.S., received a boost Wednesday when 160 banana boxes filled with grocery items arrived at its doorstep.

Lawrence Shebib, the food bank's co-ordinator, said the shipment came at a critical time.

"I've been volunteering here for 14 years and our supplies this week were the lowest they've been," he said.

The food and personal-care items were delivered by what is known as the "reclamation" truck.

The disposal company Stericycle, based in Brampton, Ont., was hired by grocery chains to deliver food that can't be sold because the packaging is damaged.

Many of the cans have dents. Staff check expiration dates and make sure there are no punctures or swollen lids before the food is given to clients. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

"Absolutely no idea what's in here. It's like Christmas!" Robert Dolomont, the food bank's director, said as he tore open cardboard boxes filled with canned soup, tomato juice, crackers and microwave popcorn.

One box was full of toothpaste and deodorant.

The cans have dents and the packaging is torn, so volunteers check the food for expiration dates and any punctures or swollen lids before it is given to clients.

The food bank's co-ordinator, Lawrence Shebib, has a look through some of the boxes. (CBC)

The North Sydney food bank serves 170 to 200 families a month.

"We are seeing more clients, more often," said Shebib, who blames the Cape Breton economy, the downturn out West, and annual incomes too low to cover all the bills in winter.

"With an income of below $10,000 for a single person, I mean, they just can't make it," he said.

Wednesday's donation will be shared with food banks in Sydney Mines, Glace Bay and Sydney.

Shebib said he is overjoyed to see the shelves stocked again, but expects Wednesday's donations will be all gone within a month.