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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Being hungry during the holidays is a harsh reality for many San Joaquin County Delta College students.

Karla Alcantara sees the need firsthand every week, working at the on-campus food pantry.

“We just try our best to give them what they can so we can fulfill what they need when they need it,” she said.

The number of students utilizing the pantry exceeded the school’s expectations and now the pantry is struggling to keep up with demand.

“We’ve utilized 75% of our budget already because the demand has been so big. And so, from now until the end of May, we have to utilize the remaining, as well as rely on the community for support,” Alcantara said.

Since the pantry opened in March, more than 5,600 students have been served, leaving the shelves light just before Thanksgiving.

“We have students that, you know, they’re utilizing their points here to try to make a meal for tomorrow for Thanksgiving,” Alcantara said. “They get a big can of sauce, they get some yams, corn, green beans, things like that you know to try to give some sort of meal for tomorrow.”

The pantry operates on a point system. Students are allowed to spend 100 points a semester on food and hygiene products.

“We hate to say, ‘We’re out of this, we don’t have any more of that,’” Alcantar said.

Delta College is asking for monetary and food donations to keep the shelves stocked for students through the holidays and beyond.

“Any donation matters and that when you donate to the food pantry, you’re changing students’ lives for the better,” Angela Tos, the dean of enrollment services and student development, told FOX40.

Tos says she hopes the pantry will help students perform in the classroom.

“If a student is hungry, that’s distracting and it could impact their success. And so, we just want to really provide whatever services that we can to meet their needs so that they can stay focused and do their best in school,” Tos said.

Information about donating to the food pantry can be found here.