CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As the government shutdown continues, local food banks are getting concerned about a possible influx of people.
“We are seeing a little bit of an uptick in people coming to our pantries, our agencies and also to the food bank to receive food. Just a small uptick, but we think that will increase the longer this shutdown continues,” said Kathy Douglas, Chief Development Officer for the Lowcountry Food Bank.
The food bank serves thousands of food insecure individuals each month and with the lights off in Washington, they could see even more. Federal funding for food assistance programs like SNAP could freeze in the coming months if Washington stays dark.
“The shutdown was extremely concerning to us because snap benefits are that first time of defense for people in our community who are food insecure. They really need those SNAP benefits so when those are jeopardized, we know people who already struggle with hunger, who already don’t have enough are going to struggle more,” Douglas said.
The food bank is treating this like they would a natural disaster. Right now they’re in the planning stages. If the shutdown continues for another week, they’ll then start putting together disaster kits and really trying to stock their banks and pantries.
In the meantime, they’re focusing on those who are already struggling because of the shutdown. For example, the Coast Guard called them Wednesday to make sure members would be able to pick up food at the bank.
“Even if the shutdown ends tomorrow, we know it has already had an effect on federal workers here in our state and our community. We want to be there for them and make sure they know they can go to any of our pantries, agencies, or here at the food bank because we know they’ve gone without pay,” Douglas said.
The Trump Administration says snap will be funded through February, after that it’s unclear.