The Food Bank of WNY serves Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties and fights hunger one day at a time. How does the federal government shutdown affect their agencies?
As our country grapples with the uncertainty the government shutdown creates for the lives of millions of Americans, our economy, and our nation as a whole, the Feeding America network is deeply concerned about the negative impact the shutdown will have on millions of Americans that are food insecure and the programs that help them feed their families.
With millions of people in communities all across our nation still struggling to recover from the recession, our food banks and the agencies they work with see firsthand the impact our nation’s struggling economy continues to have. The number of people seeking emergency assistance from the Feeding America network of food banks has increased 46 percent from 2006 to 2010, and our food banks continue to struggle coping with sustained high demand and not enough food to meet it.
While the administration just released contingency funds to help cover WIC program costs through October, states may not be able to provide vitally needed food for women and children through WIC if the shutdown is prolonged. Other senior nutrition programs like Meals on Wheels do not have funding during the shutdown.
While the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has funds and authority to provide benefits through October, beyond that it is unclear if benefits will continue.
We all have a vested interest in working together to ensure that our neighbors and friends in need have nutrition assistance programs available to help them get back on their feet. We need our elected officials to remember the impact of a government shutdown on our most vulnerable citizens and to work to find a timely solution.
Help Your Community by Donating to the Ellicottville Community Food Pantry
Located at the United Church of Ellicottville at 53 Elizabeth Street, Ellicottville, NY 14731. Call (716) 699-4003. Serves Otto, East Otto, Great Valley, Ellicottville and West Valley.
What can you do to help?
According to Annie Widger, Director of the United Church’s Food Pantry, they are already feeling the squeeze from the Food Bank due to grant cuts from earlier this year.
“Local community involvement is key to keeping the Food Pantry’s shelves stocked, ” said Widger. She has created a Halloween event, “Trick or Eat Drive, where trick-or-treaters are encouraged to bring a canned good to the Food Pantry at the United Church of Ellicottville, 53 Elizabeth St.
“Purchasing an extra Thanksgiving turkey and donating it to the Food Pantry is another way, whether it’s for your Canadian holiday, or your American holiday,” continued Widger. “We have lots of freezer space and can keep them until we are ready to distribute our traditional Thanksgiving Day meals.
Call (716) 699-4003 for more information.