By Tracy Clemons

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The Bi-State Pet Food Pantry hands out pet food once a month. On average, they get about 165 families. But that number has shot up, and they're having trouble keeping up with the demand.

Volunteers distribute pet food to families on the third Sunday of every month.

"Our goal is to try to fill that need for them whether it's on a temporary or permanent basis by distributing food to them so that we're helping to keep the families together with their pets, we're keeping pets out of local shelters which we all know are already overflowing with animals," sayid donation coordinator Cyndie Branson-Rinehart.

The pantry averages about 165 families a month. Food is donated, and volunteers accept monetary donations to buy food they hand out.

"And what we're just starting to notice is that some of those donations both from food point of view, and also the monetary donations, seem to be getting a little bit lower while our number of recipients seems to be getting a little bit higher," said Branson-Rinehart.

In September, they served 192 families.

"The faces that we see that come here every month are people like you. They're people like me. They're people who maybe have a disability that has prevented them from working for a long time, and they're people who may have just lost their job last month and are all of a sudden realizing that this might be a challenge to feed their pet. So we see really all walks of life," Branson-Rinehart said.

Donations are dropping, and need is rising. Now the volunteers are reaching out for a little help.

"We put out this challenge to our donation sites by the end of the year of 10,000 pounds just to not only help our donation sites promote our organization and the need for additional food amongst them, but also it's just another way to try to get out into the community and let people know that we exist," she said.

There are rules for people who need help. Dogs have to be spayed or neutered. One thing Bi-State Pet Food Pantry needs besides food is cat litter. To find out how you can help, you can check out their website.