Elmira, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The holiday season may be "the most wonderful time of the year," but it is also the most critical time of the year for foods banks.
Especially this holiday season.
On Friday, food stamp benefit cuts took effect. More than 3 million people in New York now have less money to buy food.
According to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, more than 30,000 people are enrolled in SNAP benefits in Broome County. They say a family of four will have $36 cut from their maximum benefit per month.
The cuts, combined with a growing trend of increased need, mean a busy season for the Food Bank at the Southern Tier, which serves more than 11,000 people every week.
The organization is holding two food drives to help meet food needs: a turkey drive and a venison drive.
People can donate online for their annual turkey drive. The drive lasts doesn't stop at Thanksgiving, but goes through the end of December, as the collections help buy turkeys for the following year.
For their venison drive, hunters who have extra venison can take the meat to a state-approved processor.
"You just take your field dressed deer to a processor that is approved by the state and the processor will process that deer for you at no cost at all to the hunter," Missy Goetschius of the Food Bank at the Southern Tier said.
Goetschius says a little goes a long way. A $5 donation means the food bank can buy more than $28 worth of food.
And with winter approaching, every dollar counts.
"During the winter months, there's rising expenses as far as heating your home and there's a lot of folks making difficult choices about paying for heat or paying for food so that they can eat."
For more information on how you can donate, click here.