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Food banks ready for influx of people needing help due to the partial govt shutdown

MADISON (WKOW) — Local food banks say they expect to see more people coming in asking for help as the partial government shutdown stretches into a third week.

More than 800,000 federal employees will miss a paycheck Friday due to the shutdown.

“Because of the shutdown, if it’s somebody who is not familiar with this, we would welcome them,” said River Food Pantry President/CEO Charles McLimans.

And non-profits like River Food Pantry and Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin are ready.

“We have a pretty good supply of food here, usually at least four weeks worth of food supplies,” McLimans said.

“We haven’t necessarily seen a dramatic increase in the amount of food going out yet. But the reality is we’re preparing for it,” said Kris Tazelaar, communication director for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

Donations in January typically decline after the busy holiday season.

“We are constantly looking for ways to meet even more of those missing meals. So our foot is always on the gas to try to source and distribute food. ” Tazelaar said.

“Tomorrow is supposed to be their pay day and we’re right next to the airport. TSA workers are not going to be paid. So we’re here for them. We want them to know we’re here for them and they’re welcome to come and use our services. We want them to,” McLimans said.

Officials in Washington announced SNAP benefits will be paid through February.

“At the beginning of the month, we see less people. At the end of the month when snap food stamp benefits run out, we see it influx of people. So to have that over a sustained period of time would be difficult,” McLimans said. “But I’m confident with our community partners. We live in a very food resource rich area. And so the food resources are out there. It’s just a matter of increasing our volume and increasing our distribution to meet that.

“There’s also on the side of the processing for some of those food programs, like WIC, like Foodshare. Those folks who are currently processing new applications and things like that, a lot of those folks are currently furloughed. So those new applications are being delayed,” Tazelaar said.

Neither River Food Pantry or Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin receives any money from the state.

The partial government shutdown is in it’s 20th day, making it the second longest in history.

David Johnson

Reporter, WKOW

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