Some of the city’s food banks are issuing a desperate cry for help after donations have dropped drastically this season.

Food donations are the lowest they’ve been in 58 years, said Sun Youth, causing concern it may have to ration Christmas baskets.

To be able to feed Montreal’s hungry, Sun Youth has had to ration food in its monthly baskets. The charity organization feeds 2,500 per month, up 500 from last year.

In order to reach demand, it has been forced to hand families smaller supplies – half a dozen eggs or half a litre of milk instead of a full portion, explain Sid Stevens of Sun Youth.

A major concern is the upcoming holidays: from Dec. 18 – 24, Sun Youth plans to help 18,000 people by handing out 5,000 Christmas baskets, as well as 500 kosher baskets for Chanukah.

While every needy household will receive a basket, it may not be with as much food if donations don't start coming in -- and fast.

We are 25 days away from distribution and we need help desperately,” said Stevens. “We will probably achieve our goal - but with less food in the bag.”

Sun Youth spends $500,000 every year buying food for the needy, and another $1.8 million comes from donations. While food is a priority (“Canned ham, canned fish, canned meat, frozen turkeys,” said Stevens), hygiene products, baby formula and diapers also come in handy.

Food bank Moisson Montreal is issuing the same cry for help.

“We hope companies will think about us and start making some campaign (goals) to make sure we have enough stuff for the people in need,” said Dany Michaud of Moisson Montreal.

The group collects food for some 200 organizations on the Island of Montreal, handing out about 1 to 1.5 million kilograms of food every month, helping 142,000 people a year. About 50,000 of them are children

For Christmas, in addition to all those regulars, the group plans to distribute 15,000 Christmas baskets and serve 32,000 meals

For that, they need to have close to 3 million kilograms of food. Right now, they’re at 400,000 kgs.

Food donations are needed now, not days before Christmas, said Michaud.

“We need to make baskets before we give them to the people in need, so we need all the stuff three or four weeks before,” he said.

There are several reasons people aren’t donating as much this year as they have in the past, said Stevens.

A major one, is the NHL lockout.

“We have a lot of people who collect for us, such as the bars, night clubs, the sports clubs. The wives of the Canadiens, prior to the big game Dec. 8 against Buffalo -- they are not going to be doing it this year,” said Stevens.