Statement attributed to Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer:
Washington, D.C. – “We are relieved there is a deal to reopen the currently closed federal agencies and end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. We have seen firsthand the adverse consequences of the shutdown, as 800,000 federal employees and more than a million contract workers have gone without pay for 35 days. Our network of 200 member food banks and 60,000 partner agencies have extended our hours, hosted pop-up mobile food distributions, and increased our supplies to meet the needs of our neighbors.
“Though this three-week deal comes at a critical time for people who were forced to make impossible choices between paying bills and buying food, we are still concerned about the ongoing disruption this has caused for them and the accompanying lack of certainty because the threat of another shutdown looms in less than a month’s time.
“Moreover, millions of individuals will be dealing with the after-effects of this shutdown for months to come, which will add further strain to the food bank network. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued February Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits early in order to ensure that 38 million Americans participating in the program received this essential source of food assistance. This timing will leave these food insecure families with a gap in benefits that could go as long as 50 days. Many families will have no other choice but to turn to our network when their SNAP food assistance is unable to meet the shortfall in their food budget. Furthermore, many of the contract workers who have lost nearly 10% of their annual income, and are unlikely to receive back pay, may continue to need assistance going forward.
“Shutdowns of the federal government hurt everyone in our country but are particularly harmful for the low-income families we serve. We urge our elected officials to provide a long-term solution to fund the government to ensure that families struggling with hunger as well as federal workers and contractors living paycheck to paycheck have the security they need to feed their families.”
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.