Hunger in Middle Georgia is more common than many might think.
In fact, many service ministries around the area are struggling to feed the poor and homeless because of food shortages.
Mary Gatti, the Development Director at the Loaves and Fishes Ministry in Macon, says her place has been affected by the short supply.
"The amount that we put in a bag of groceries is not as much as we used to," she says.
She sees dozens of the poor and homeless everyday, giving them sack lunches and other meals. She gets most of that food from the Middle Georgia Food Bank, where hangups with the USDA are keeping the food supply low.
Ronald Raleigh, the executive director at the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, says the shortage has led to months of empty shelves.
"Normally I try to keep my warehouse at 65% of capacity, that pretty much takes care of the 300 plus agencies we got in the 24 county service area we work with. Right now my warehouse capacity is at only 43%."
Raleigh says he's seen a 45% increase in demand over the last three years, at at a time when the U.S. economy has tanked and unemployment has risen. Just this summer, virtually no shipments of food came in for three whole months, leaving advocacy groups with no choice but to go elsewhere.
"We have to go to Sam's or some place where it's more expensive so that eats into our budget," says Gatti.
But Raleigh says there's light at the end of the tunnel.
"We have had dry spells like this before, I've been at the food bank now fro 23 years and there have been some dry spells over that period of time," he says. "This spell has been a little bit more intensive than the other times have, but like I said, the indicators are there that it's gonna change."
Meanwhile, the headaches continue for ministries around the state, and hunger pains get sharper for Georgia's poor and homeless, who may need a real life "loaves and fishes" miracle.
Jessie Williams, who is unemployed and has been getting food from Loaves and Fishes for four months now, says he's not giving up hope.
"I just trust God every day, I get up every morning, you know and I pray to God, and I read my Bible everyday and I try to do the things that God would have me to do. Cause I know he's gonna make a way---he's making a way for me," says Williams.
Gatti also says donations to Loaves and Fishes have been down because government and private grants have been affected by the economy. She told 41NBC one grant in particular, was cut by 30%.