Food banks in the Tri-Cities area issued an urgent plea for donations Tuesday as they prepare to pack Christmas hampers.

The Share Food Bank is supposed to be preparing the hampers in less than a week, but the shelves are bare.

Staff say they desperately need non-perishable meals for the 800 families they serve in Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

The food bank urgently needs canned items such as meat, vegetables, beans and fruit, as well as pasta, pasta sauce and rice.

They are also looking for toys and gifts for children under the age of 18, and staff say they are specifically low on items for pre-teen boys and girls.

“It’s an all year struggle to keep the supplies replenished,” says Natasha Kanji from Share Food Bank. “We rely 100 per cent on the support of the community we don’t get any government funding whatsoever.”