The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is opening their doors even wider.
They're allowing federal employees affected by the government shutdown to pick up food at the Foodbank to sustain them for a short time.
"We wanted to make sure they knew we are here if they need our help," CEO Karen Joyner said.
The Foodbank will then refer them to one of their 150 partner agencies for long-term assistance.
“They may never have thought they would need our services, but we needed to remind them that's why we're here,” Joyner said. “These are people (donors) who support us in good times and bad and some of them may end up in our lines.”
Foodbanks will really start to feel the impact of the shutdown, if the shutdown stretches into February and March.
“It's going to be critical by the end of January if something doesn't get resolved,” Joyner said.
According to Feeding America, the shutdown would hit those people who receive federal nutrition assistance like SNAP, TEFAP or WIC the hardest. That is, if leaders don't resolve the shutdown soon.
For example, State WIC agencies have enough funding to stay open through the end of January. WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. After that, USDA officials will have to figure out how to provide more funding to allow the program to keep running into next month.
Joyner said they expect more and more of those families to walk through their doors within the next several weeks, and if that happens, they'll need more food at the foodbank. They're still feeling the impacts of their third biggest donor closing, Farm Fresh.
“We are low of USDA food this year so there will be some crisis if things continue as more and more people don't get their paychecks and those government programs stop funding us and the food doesn't come,” Joyner said. “The USDA commodities we receive are expected to be coming through February, but we are already low compared to last year, so it will be some crisis if things continue.”
Joyner said last year they had 450,000 pounds of TEFAP products. TEFAP is the Emergency Food Assistance Program. Today they have about 125,000 pounds. That's not related to the shutdown, however, it is less food they have coming in.
Those impacted by the shutdown can stop by the Foodbank at 2401 Aluminum Avenue, Hampton, Va. any day of the week between 1:30 and 3 in the afternoon.