The Sunday Breakfast Mission is struggling to feed Wilmington's growing homeless and working poor populations.
"Our shelves, our freezers, our coolers are all getting quite bare," said Rev. Tom Laymon, CEO and president of SBM. "We're actually going from day to day on what are we going to be able to serve not what are we going to serve."
On average, the Christian-based nonprofit shelters 240 homeless men, women and children every night, an increase from a nightly average of 197 at this time last year.
Over the last four months, Laymon said the mission provided more than 70,000 meals to homeless men, women and children.
In addition to the growing numbers of homeless coming in, Laymon said more people from the community are coming in for the mission's nightly community meal. He added that demand for their take-home food boxes has also jumped from fewer than 10 families per week to 60 families per month.
"We have been able to stretch what we received in the fall and winter," he said. "But, as per usual, summer slump is truly a summer slump in a lot of ways, and we're at the critical part of our summer slump of donations of food."
Not only is the SBM running out of protein-rich meat products like beef, pork, fish, chicken and turkey, it's also running low on all foods, like canned and dry goods as well as beans and vegetables.
While difficult to pinpoint the external factors that may be contributing to the spike, Laymon said an increase in drug problems and violence likely contributed.
"We do know that when drug problems increase in the community, it affects more than just those who are using drugs. It affects families and others out there," he said. "One of its effects is that there will be more who will become homeless and more who will become hungry."
Laymon said donations can be dropped off at the mission, located at 110 N. Poplar Street in Wilmington.