With inflation, housing crises, and holidays coming up, local groups are exhausting resources and are in need of help in case displaced families arrive from Puerto Rico.

A new rapid response van is on standby at the Salvation Army this hurricane season.

“We can serve 1,500 meals a day off of this unit,” Captain Ken Chapman said. “It can get into places that maybe our larger kitchen cannot get into.”

As they’re finding ways to improve resources, they need the community’s help to reach those in need.

People in Puerto Rico are facing the devastation of Hurricane Fiona.

“There’s a new class of homelessness emerging – people who never thought they’d be homeless,” Chapman said. “So if we have a natural disaster, like a hurricane that displaces people… resources are being very stretched thin.”

The empty shelves at Healing Hunger Food Pantry show just how high the demand is.

“We want each family to leave with a full week’s worth of groceries and that full week’s of groceries is 21 meals,” said Father Jose Rodriguez, with Christ the King Episcopal Church.

The pantry’s manager, Fidel Hernandez, said more than 200 families who come from different backgrounds are served each month.

“Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua and everywhere,” Hernandez said.

Rodriguez says the number will jump if displaced families from Puerto Rico come to Central Florida.

“We’re talking about our neighbors – some of them might live next door to you or across the street from you is bringing in a family member and now their home budget is pushed to the brim,” Rodriguez said. “They’re the ones that come and get the food here because they’re neighbors feeding families feeding friends.”

By erick