ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York has received an early holiday gift from its farmers: 9 million pounds of food donated to food banks around the state.

The New York Farm Bureau announced the contribution on Tuesday. It's part of the organization's annual "Harvest for All" program that encourages farmers to donate local agricultural products to state food banks.

The Farm Bureau says this year's number could rise in the year's final weeks. Last year, farmers contributed more than 13 million pounds of food.

Local food bank directors say hunger is an increasing problem with more families, seniors and even college students relying on soup kitchens and food pantries for food.

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New York state food banks distribute more than 225 million pounds of food to almost 3 million people annually.

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