ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Advocates said that there is a crisis in the Rockford community, as more and more local families are in need of help to put food on the table.

Between the ending of SNAP benefits to the economy and rising gas prices, the need for food assistance is up 30% over last year. That is why the Northern Illinois Food Bank is hosting a pop-up grocery distribution this weekend.

The first 600 people will be given a box of free food, no questions asked.

September is “Hunger Action Month,” a time where the food pantry works to raise awareness about hunger relief. Todd Reuber, manager of Northern Illinois Food Banks’ Northwest Center in Rockford, said that it is coming at a time when so many need it.

“We serve a lot of families that maybe are employed or underemployed, maybe they don’t have necessarily the financial needs to cover all their expenses right now,” Reuber said. “So yeah, if we can offer some assistance by providing some food at no cost that helps them to pay other bills or expenses, then we’re glad that we can do that for the community.”

The Northern Illinois Food Bank is accepting donations of food or money. A $1 donation can be turned into $8 worth of food. In addition, donations are tripled during “Hunger Action Month.”

“There’s actually an opportunity if you donate, to actually triple that through matches,” Reuber said. “So, if someone donates $10, it’s $30 what we’ll actually get through matching donors to donate to help us with that assistance.”

The pop-up is happening from 8-10 a.m. Saturday at the Salvation Army Emergency Operations Center, 5460 E. State St. Volunteers are needed.