Effects from supply chain shortages are rippling out, cutting hunger relief organizations' food donations — just in time for the holidays, when demand is at its highest.

Grocery stores, big box stores, food wholesalers and farmers markets can't count on fully stocked shelves and, as a result, aren't donating as much food as they have in the past, Massachusetts nonprofits and companies said. A scarcity of workers leaves them shorthanded even when there are extras.

Lovin' Spoonfuls, a Boston-based nonprofit that recovers fresh food stores would otherwise throw out, is feeling the impact. Chief Operating Officer Lauren Palumbo said, for the first time in their 12-year history, their food supply is down. It collected roughly 82,000 pounds a week at the beginning of the year; by the end of September, that was down to 76,000 pounds.

"If a grocery chain's avocado supply is stuck on a barge somewhere and it's just not getting into the New England market, then there aren't going to be excess avocados for us to recover because they will all be sold," Palumbo said.

At the Cape Verdean Association of Boston, President Paul Debarros said he's seeing a drop in food availability across the board. The association receives donated food from Lovin' Spoonfuls and purchases groceries for families and seniors in Dorchester and Roxbury who are in need. But, due to shortages, they’ve cut back from three meal deliveries a week to two. "Even the people that we're trying to buy food from, sometimes they don't have the quantity that we're looking for or don't have the product that we're looking for," Debarros said.

Grocery stores are scrambling to adapt to the supply inconsistencies. Arthur Ackles, Vice President of Merchandiising and Buying at Mansfield-based Roche Bros. Supermarkets, said he’s never seen anything “remotely close to what we’re experiencing now” in his 35 years with the company.

“It's a super fragile industry in terms of what's coming in on a day-to-day basis and it can change rapidly,” Ackles said.

He added that the labor shortage is compounding the problem.

“There's days where we can't even get the departments open on time. or somebody just doesn't show up for their shift, or we don't have managers to run the department,” he continued, “so the reciprocal effect of that is that there might have been times where we were able to assist in getting product to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, but we just don't have time right now."

Palumbo said there's a certain irony in this turn of events.

“Lovin’ Spoonfuls exists because of issues with the supply chain. We exist because there is all of this excess in the food system. And now we're seeing just a totally different iteration of another supply chain problem,” she said, shaking her head. “I don't know how many more times we can say, ‘This is the moment that we've never seen before,’ in this two-year window we've been in, but it definitely feels that way."