(WMC-TV) – Twenty-five percent of people in Mississippi struggle to put food on the table.
DeSoto County is not immune to the hardship.
With a cart full of food being pushed towards Corbett Baker's car, it looked like the end of a trip to the grocery store, but it was far from it.
"Right now this week we'd be starving because we're real low on food," Baker said.
Baker is one of thousands in DeSoto County that seek help from Connie James and the Heartland Hands Food Pantry in Southaven.
"Our clients are increasing almost 100 families per month and for the last three months we have increased almost 100 families per month," James said.
Those numbers and a firsthand look at the pantry opened the eyes of the Southaven High School cheerleaders.
"It was heartbreaking, we didn't know how many people in the area were actually struggling for groceries," said Amber Crider.
In a time where donations are down, the squad raised nearly 10,000 items of food for the food pantry.
But James says that food could be gone in just a month.
That is why the non-profit is calling on local businesses to donate leftover food rather than throwing it away.
"We need manufacturers we need pallets of food because of the volume we do we need pallets of food," James said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture used to be one of the pantry's top contributors but now, their side of the shelf is nearly empty.
Jones hopes that with the community's help, it can be full again for folks like Baker.
"My wife became unemployed about six months ago so this is a God blessing here and we get a lot of help through there," Baker said.
The food pantry is trying to get other school programs and churches involved.