Government Shutdown: Food Bank is worried demand will rise in coming months
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- As the stalemate continues -- the number of hungry families is growing. And the Southern Arizona Community Food Bank is worried it won't be able to meet the demand in the coming months.
Bags of food and boxes of meals to feed 65,000 hungry families leave the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona every day.
It hasn't slowed down in the slightest.
In fact, the Food Bank is bracing for not only a surge of needy families, including furloughed workers living paycheck to paycheck, but also a reduction in federal funds to pay for services.
"Most of our programming remains in place but the likelihood of that continuing much longer than October is not very good," said Marco Lui, Director of Advocacy and Outreach.
SNAP benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps, will be reduced November first and the Food Bank will no longer have the funds to help families fill out the forms.
And the Commodity Supplemental program, Food Plus in Arizona, that distributes boxed meals to homebound seniors, is already taking a hit.
"As a matter of fact, already they are not doing new enrollments during the shutdown," said Liu. Dropped from the Food Plus program this month -- 500 seniors in Arizona -- and the number is climbing every day.
The food bank can continue to feed hungry families, but that will be tougher to do -- even with donations from the community.
"Without the Government support I don't think the community at whatever level of generosity can fully meet the demand. The government programs are vital," said Lui.
And more donations are needed with the holidays right around the corner.
Meantime, The Food Bank is sponsoring the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that feeds hungry children for free. It's completely funded by the federal government and will continue for at least several months.
Meals are now being served at the locations and times listed. All sites will serve meals five days a week, Monday through Friday, unless the site is otherwise closed. Quick and easy enrollment forms to join the program can be obtained on site.
Holmes Tuttle Boys & Girls Clubhouse (2585 East 36th Street) 5:30pm-6:30pm
Jim & Vicki Click Boys & Girls Clubhouse (1935 S. Columbus Blvd.) 5:30pm-6:30pm
Frank & Edith Morton Boys & Girls Clubhouse (3155 East Grant Road) 6pm-7pm
Roy Drachman Boys & Girls Clubhouse (5901 South Santa Clara) 5pm-6pm
Steve Daru Boys & Girls Clubhouse (1375 North El Rio Drive) 4:30pm-5:30pm
Freedom Park Recreation Center (5000 East 29th St.) 4:30pm-5:30pm