The severe drought and increasing food prices could force area food banks to make tough decisions in order to continue to feed people in need.
The Second Harvest Food Bank expects food prices to increase by possibly 30%. That increase will affect the organization's ability to purchase needed food.
"Clearly the donations that will come to us will diminish and the cost of food will go up," chief operating officer Matthew Bourlakas said. "Seventy percent of food in the store we eat has a corn derivative, so you can imagine the cost of everything is going to go up."
Corn prices have soared as drought conditions across the mid-west have forced farmers to slash how much corn their fields will produce.
The increase is also expected to hurt donations to the organization because people will be paying more at the grocery store to feed their own families.
Second Harvest provides food to folks in 46 counties. Of the people served, 31% are children.
"The ones who suffer the greatest are the ones who need it most," Bourlakas said. "I think that is what hurts us the most to even consider having to give folks less when they need it so much."
The organization said a last resort would be to cut back on the amount of food going into its food boxes for families.
The box typically has 30 to 40 pounds of food. It includes canned meat, vegetables, a protein like peanut butter, macaroni and cheese and cereal.
"In the absence of more people donating food or money you have to make some hard decisions about how much food will go into a food box," Bourlakas said. "We will have to look at those guidelines and say instead of four cans of vegetables you go to three cans, instead of two boxes of cereal you go to one box."
Second Harvest is looking at long term solutions to address expected waning donations. The increase in food prices is expected to effect the organization for several months.
"We have got to stay in business," he said. "We have got to figure out how to get this in the long term so we are sustainable and we continue to be the safety net for this city."
Food donations can be brought directly to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee or donated at Kroger stores.
The organizations most needed items are peanut butter, canned meat, canned vegetables, canned fruit, pasta and cereal.
Second Harvest is located at 331 Great Circle Road in Nashville.