Government shutdown could affect food banks' supply

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, food banks say that right now they're pretty well supplied to handle any requests they might get.

But a lingering government shutdown could have an affect on them. They say that if the government shutdown continues, they might have more requests for assistance, which would require them to receive more in terms of money and food donations.

"Folks that are getting help and assistance from the food bank today, if they're getting some other financial assistance, that could go away. So their needs are going to increase," said Bruce Ganger, executive director of Second Harvest North Florida.

Food banks like Second Harvest say that so far they haven't seen increased numbers yet. That's why they are trying to get donations early, just in case the shutdown lasts longer and fears of another recession begin.

"We think the requests are going to spike," Ganger said. "Given that the government shutdown now for a few days, we believe if it has any kind of life to it that the demand for us is going to increase."

The Salvation Army has already had some people with issues getting the paperwork they need to bring to request assistance, because much of that has to come from a government office. Paul Stasi, the organization's director of services, said the Salvation Army will try to make sure it doesn't have too much of a delay because of the problem.

"We'd have to look at other arrangements," he said. "We don't want to hamper anyone's ability to get help."

"You will have a rippling effect out into the community, where people work for lower income jobs that will be reduced or be eliminated if this continues to drag on," Ganger said.

The hope from food banks is that donations will continue to come in like they have in recent years, when the demand for assistance has been higher than normal because of the down economy.

If you'd like to donate food or money to some local food banks, click the links below:

Second Harvest North Florida

Salvation Army