ISHPEMING — Food banks and food pantries sometimes face critical summer shortages that can continue into early fall, and they aren’t always shortages of food.

The Ishpeming location of the Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank holds public pantry days twice a month. About 170 families picked up food by mid-afternoon.

Out of respect for their privacy, we won’t show on camera anyone who was waiting in line to get in, but the line stretched around the block for much of the day.

“There’s always a need for food in our community, and it’s pretty staggering right now,” branch manager Dave Mason said. “People are usually shocked when they come in and see just how many people actually need our services.”

The food bank has not had trouble keeping the shelves stocked fully enough to serve those families, but another problem that often surfaces during warmer weather showed up again this summer.

“We do have an ample supply of food,” Mason said. “What we are running short on, as usual, is funding. Donations are always kind of low this time of year because we’re in between giving seasons right now.”

The food bank primarily distributes food to agencies across the central Upper Peninsula. At one point last winter, it was shipping out 5,000 to 7,000 pounds of food every day.