Even though the federal government is back to business as usual, millions of Pennsylvanians continue to feel the ramifications of the 35-day shutdown, and likely will for weeks to come. Food banks and pantries across the country also are feeling the effects of the shutdown and Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging Pennsylvanians who can to donate to their local charitable food organization.
“Food banks and pantries across Pennsylvania felt the effects of the federal government shutdown during the time of year when resources are already strained due to weather,” Gov. Wolf said. “If you already donated to your food bank, thank you. If you haven’t or can give more, I encourage you to do so. It can go a long way to restock shelves and make sure our community members in need do not have to go without a necessity of life – food.”
Food banks say that cash donations and volunteer support are most needed, but residents should check with their local food bank to find out about any specific needs.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program that helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians fight chronic hunger and feed themselves and their families.
Because of the partial federal government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture directed states to issue February SNAP benefits by January 20. In Pennsylvania, February benefits were issued January 16 and 17.
This unprecedented change created significant confusion for SNAP recipients, and unfortunately, the consequences of this change still pose a significant challenge. This, in turn, put a strain on local food banks and pantries, working to help SNAP recipients extend their benefits during a time of uncertainty over these federal benefits.
Combined with the needs of furloughed federal workers and unpaid federal contractors, Pennsylvania’s food banks and pantries are feeling the strain.
“Our charitable food organizations do selfless and tireless work to help people meet one of their most basic needs – keeping food on the table,” Gov Wolf said. “If you can help out with a donation of food, cash or your time, I know it will be greatly appreciated.”