When times are tough, many families turn to food banks.

“Four million Canadians are living in households where there’s a struggle to afford the food that they need,” said Valerie Tarasuk, a professor of nutritional science at the University of Toronto. “That is a big problem.”

At St. Paul’s on-the-Hill Community Food Bank in Pickering, some shelves are almost empty: A result of a slowdown in donations over the summertime and the economy as many people have lost jobs.

“They’re lined up outside before we’re even open, “said Mae Herridge, a volunteer. “A lot of them have young children.”