Feeding America Statement On The Need To End The Shutdown
As a Feeding America partner, we will continue to share important updates about the government shutdown and it’s detrimental effects on those we serve. You can visit Feeding America’s press room by clicking here.
Attributed to Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer, Feeding America
Washington – “A significant portion of the federal government has now been closed for 26 days. During that time, our network of member food banks has been preparing for the possibility of an extended shutdown and bracing for a resulting increase in the number of families and individuals who need food assistance.
“We are now seeing the adverse consequences of the shutdown first hand, as 800,000 federal employees and thousands more contractors have missed their first paycheck. Many of these public servants face a new reality of needing help to feed their families. Our network of food banks has stepped up to help and will continue to do so, but we are mindful of the risk a continued shutdown poses to the demand for assistance and to food bank operations in the face of increased need and an absence of federal funding.
“The number of already food insecure Americans who will lose their monthly food assistance if the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) runs out of funds is nearly 50 times larger than the entire number of federal employees who have been furloughed or are working without pay. And the loss of food assistance would be unprecedented – at least one billion meals would likely be lost in March from the plates of children, veterans, and seniors. Food banks and other charitable organizations cannot fill the gap if the 38 million people who depend on SNAP lose their benefits because the government is not reopened before February allotments end.
“This shutdown must end immediately – before irreversible harm is done to millions of our most vulnerable neighbors.”
“Late yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced funding to continue critical federal nutrition programs through February. While Feeding America is relieved that American families who depend on programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) will be able to continue to put food on the table next month, challenges remain.
“The process that allowed the Administration to fund SNAP benefits for the month of February cannot be replicated for additional months. In addition, we are already seeing an impact on families and individuals needing food who are experiencing hardship due to the shutdown. We anticipate further need as furloughed federal employees and contractors miss paychecks in the absence of a resolution, and the impact on household budgets could continue for many months after the loss of funds.
“For every meal our network provides, SNAP provides 12 and we cannot understate the importance of federal nutrition programs functioning seamlessly. Our nationwide network of member food banks stands at the ready in any crisis, and this shutdown is no different.”