With bare shelves and empty baskets to fill, a Fredericton soup kitchen was on the verge of a crisis Tuesday, but residents responded quickly once the word got out.

“The community just kept bringing in different things. The tables were full,” says Lynda Lewis, a volunteer at the Fredericton Community Kitchen. “We kept having to unfill the tables to clean the tables for lunch.”

Mike Wood was among the many residents who answered the call for help.

“I think I’m like a lot of people. You don’t really know until they put it before your eyes,” says Wood, who dropped a cheque off to the kitchen.

Local businesses also stepped up to help; one restaurant donated a pallet of food while a grocery store set up an impromptu food drop-off.

Organizers say donations tend to dwindle in the weeks and months following Christmas, making it difficult to stock shelves in February and March. Lewis says the recent rash of winter storms isn’t helping either.

“With so many storms I didn’t even get out for groceries, so it doesn’t make a difference to me, but it makes a difference at the community kitchen,” she says.

Meanwhile, some local business owners say they are committing to recognizing the need year-round.

“We’re going to work together, partner up with every chance we can,” says Mark Peterson.

“Weeks and months down the road, we should always be doing this,” says Steve Burgess. “They always need food. They have to feed people three times a day, so that’s quite a bit of meals.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore