Louisville, KY (WDRB News)-- Local food pantries need your help.  They are looking to increase donations during the summer.

Several food drives are planned locally to make sure kids are well fed during the next few months.  Despite what many see as an improving economy, local food pantries remain busy.

Several years ago the food pantry operated by the Shively Area Ministries served 17,000 families a year. That number has now increased to 22,000.

"When you pay your bills and your gas these days that paycheck is pretty much gone," says Joe Nevitt, the food pantry coordinator for Shively Ministries, "so we are serving quite a few people who are trying to make it on their own, I guess you would call them the working poor."

As the summer approaches, the need increases to serve kids who no longer will be getting meals at school.  "We find we have more need for families to have more food because kids are home all day," says Sister Jean Ann Zappa, OSU, a development coordinator at Shively Ministries.

So the organization is getting ready to start a summer food drive to increase collections.  "We are reaching out to all of our member churches and our community," says Rosanna Trivitt, the executive director of Shively Ministries, "asking them to bring just basic things that children eat and like."

Trivitt recommends even treats for the kids like Kool Aid, peanut butter and jelly, and cereal.

A recent nationwide study showed that 17 percent of Kentucky residents are at risk for hunger. That represents about 700,000 people, many of them children.

Louisville's largest church, Southeast Christian is also conducting a food drive during the next two weekends.

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