CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Officials from West Virginia's largest food banks say their supplies are about to vanish.
The demand for non-perishable groceries has hit crisis levels for food banks struggling to help those sitting in the dark from Friday and Sunday's storms.
About half a million state residents were without power Tuesday and electric companies projected services won't be fully restored until later this week.
Chad Morrison, resource coordinator for the Mountaineer Food Bank, said food is going out the door "at a breakneck pace." Mountaineer, based in Braxton County, supplies food to 612 pantries, soup kitchens and after-school programs in 48 of the state's 55 counties.
Since the outages, the food bank has doubled its usual 200,000 clients as unreasonably hot temperatures grip the region.
"We rely a lot on our store donation program but a lot of the stores lost food that would have otherwise been donated," Morrison said. "Donated food has been down but is being sent out by the maximum. If we keep it up at this pace it's going to dwindle down."
Morrison said donations are critical in the coming weeks as people regain power and need to restock the items they lost. Many grocery stores around the state were forced to dispose of spoiled frozen and perishable items.
Scott Frasure, director of development for the Huntington Area Food Bank, said they are in "desperate need" for donations.
"The storm couldn't have hit during a worse time," Frasure said. "Summer is a time when food banks don't have a lot of food in stock. People think the only time you should donate is during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays."
Frasure said they've moved about 2,600 pounds of food since Friday. Huntington Food Bank normally delivers to 260 agencies in 12 counties. They've far exceeded their normal reach of 96,000 people, he said.