PRINCETON — Heading into Week 3 of the government shutdown, the effects continue to trickle down and have been putting a strain on local food pantries.
The strain comes at a critical time, as food pantry directors and volunteers begin preparing for the holidays.
On Monday, Mary Lanham of the Western Bureau County Food Pantry confirmed she is seeing a decrease in the amount of food coming in from the River Bend Foo Bank of Moline.
While the food pantry normally has the option to choose from a list of about 20 to 25 items at the cost of 18 cents per pound, the list of items has decreased to about six items.
“That is really hurting us,” she said.
While canned green beans are the food pantry’s staple item, it received zero cans in its last order from the food bank.
“None of them came in with our last order ... Now we’re really scrambling,” she said.
The effects of the government shutdown are very concerning to Lanham.
“My biggest concern is if the government defaults. From what I understand if that occurs, we’re going to be in a mess,” she said. “Foods stamps will be impacted; Social Security and Medicare will be impacted. Should that happened in the next couple weeks, the strain on the food pantry will be immeasurable.”
Vanessa Hoffeditz of Tri-County Opportunities Council has also seen a reduction of food coming from the River Bend Food Bank.
She explained the food pantry is usually able to receive anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 wholesale value of food at no cost. In October, that amount was decreased to $600.
“We’re just waiting to see what’s going to happen,” she said.
Hoffeditz said she is concerned because the food bank is where most of the meat offered at the local food pantry comes from.
“Usually we’re able to get six cases of whole turkeys, while this past month it was down to four cases of whole turkeys,” she said.
With the decrease in food from the food bank, local food pantries could use extra food donations.
As they begin gearing up for holidays, the need is even greater. Items such as canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn or any food items that could be used for a Thanksgiving meal would help fill the shelves.
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