WACO, Texas (FOX 44/KWKT) — As Thanksgiving draws near, many donation centers are gearing up to aid families and those in need this holiday season.

Local food pantry Shepherd’s Heart has 18 mobile distribution sights across the city and this time of year keeps the non-profit busy.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Gager says they are ready for the crowds.

“Last year, we served 75,000 families. That was double what we did the previous year through October of this year. We’ve already served 77,000 families. We’ve still got a couple of months to go, busy was a holiday time,” shares Gager.

Shepherd’s Heart is partnered with the Central Texas Food Bank in Austin and will distribute groceries next Tuesday by the Waco High Football stadium.

The non-profit hopes to finish distributing food to families on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

As for how they anticipate keeping up with the food demand, “We get to see so many people that that when we give them food, are so thankful. So Thanksgiving day is just one day of the year, but we see it all year long,” says Gager.

With the current state of the economy and inflation in stores, Gager says he understands receiving help from donation centers is not easy.

“I know that some people think that there’s a stigma about this, but I try not to have that kind of an environment in any of the distributions that we do or anything that we do. I want people to feel comfortable that if you have a need, come and come see us. We’ll take care of you.”

The non-profit organization is always accepting food and monitory donations from the community.

For more information on Shepherd’s Heart operating hours, you can visit here.