WASHINGTON - Every year NBC Right Now partners with the community, and our viewers to collect canned goods and non-perishable items for locals in need. Since the pandemic hit however, Northwest Harvest, a non-profit devoted to supporting food banks in Washington state tells us the need for the donations is now greater than ever before.

"The need has always been great prior to Covid [19], and prior to the whole  pandemic, but now we have seen that number increase since the pandemic. I know statewide we were looking at about 800 thousand people who were struggling with hunger, and now with the pandemic we are looking at about 2 million people struggling with food insecurity," said Josette Gonzales, Senior Community Engagement Specialist for Northwest Harvest.

According to Gonzales it’s during winter months when the need increases, as many people with low income find themselves choosing between heating their homes and staying warm, or buying food.  She also says when you donate food items or money you are directly helping local families, and making a difference in your neighborhood. 

"Those who are in need.. it ranges, it can be individuals, it can be retired folks that are on a fixed income, families, a lot of different situations with a lot of different people that are finding themselves in need," Gonzales told NBC Right Now.  

It's a need, Gonzales calls a basic human right, "food is a basic necessity, it’s a basic human right that's how we diffidently see it," she said. 

And a great reminder that a small gesture can go a long way during the holidays, but also make a big difference as we continue to navigate this pandemic together. 

Join is to raise funds for our Hometown Food Drive Telethon on Saturday, December 5th on KNDU/KNDO "Wake Up Northwest" from 7AM to 9AM.