Local Food Pantries Feeling Impact Of Government Shutdown - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Local Food Pantries Feeling Impact Of Government Shutdown

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MARYLAND - More than two weeks after the partial government shutdown ended, we're now seeing how it's impacted some of those most in need, and since stimulus funding for the food stamps program expired, November 1st, more families will likely be in need of food assistance.

Most of the food in pantries like Diakonia in West Ocean City comes from community donations, but some Maryland pantries also get federal support.   

Executive Director Claudia Nagle says "the surplus food that's distributed by the government is the backbone and the frame work of many of the local pantries," but when the government shutdown in October, stopping non-essential services, USDA food donations temporally ended. 

"The logistics of getting that food collected and then back out has really been stalled," says Nagle.  And as the USDA works to get back on track, the October shipments still haven't come in.

The backlog of deliveries plus higher demand due to the stimulus expiring on November 1st, cut $5 million from the food stamps program... 'it causes a lot of frustration in the community and we're seeing a lot of backlash from that," says Jennifer Small, of the Maryland Food Bank.

At the same time, once large quarterly deliveries, are now smaller and coming in monthly, "so those agencies who were used to having food on a quarterly basis,October would've been their quarterly distribution, haven't seen that food," says Small.  Diakonia is one such agency.

The Maryland Food Bank says the October shipment should be in next week, asking agencies and clients to be patient, "we will work with those TEFAP distributors to get their food out to people who need it most."

To help hold them over until the next shipment, the Maryland Food Bank has been donating food to some of the local pantries.  They gave Diakonia about three thousand pounds of food, which would feed about one hundred people.

The demand has been so high, the pantry went through that food in just about three days. 

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