Government shutdown to affect food banks in Tampa Bay - WFLA News Channel 8

Government shutdown to affect food banks in Tampa Bay

Posted: Updated:
Jane Hammond Jane Hammond

The government shutdown could have unintended consequences for people in Tampa Bay area who aren't sure where their next meal is coming from.

Elder Point Ministries in Lakeland hands out food to thousands of people every year. This year it helped about 40,000 households.

“We serve a lot of people through our pantry. We are averaging about 150 households, per day," said Executive Director Jane Hammond.

She said the continuous government shutdown isn't good for people who are food insecure. The U. S. Department of Agriculture's commodities program is affected by the shutdown too.

“We serve hundreds of people a day, so our USDA allotment is somewhat significant, but in terms of actually feeding people, we already know we're going to have to use a whole lot of other resources to add to the USDA food to make a difference,” she said.

Hammond said the USDA works on a quarterly basis so right now nothing would change until January.

“That's when we expect supplies from the USDA’s commodities program to have an impact,” Hammond said.

Hammond said their bigger concern is the ending of stimulus dollars in a few weeks. The 2009 Recovery Act's temporary boost to the benefits from the supplemental nutrition assistance program called SNAP are scheduled to end on November 1. That means a benefit cut for every SNAP household.

For families of three, it's about $29 a month - a total of $319 for November 2013 through September 2014, the remaining months in the fiscal year. For the people Elder Point serves it could be to be more devastating than the shutdown.

“You have food insecure people, who are going to feel even more insecure,” Hammond said.

Elder Point alone looks to help nearly 100,000 households by the end of the year.

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