Yes, they’re open: Government shutdown not impacting local food bank yet

Yes, they’re open: Government shutdown not impacting local food bank yet

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Checks didn't come through when they should have, and her car was recently stolen. Elaine Bridgewater left the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona excited after stocking up on food to fill her up for the week.

She recently fell on hard times. A few full bags of food certainly seemed to boost her mood.

"This is a huge relief for me to be able to come down and get something like this," said Bridgewater. "I don't know what I'd do."

Though, with the government shutdown headed into its 15th day, questions have been raised in the community.

Are they open? Can a person utilize the food bank like Bridgewater did? The Community Food Bank has taken several panicked calls asking those questions. They can.

Volunteers are still hard at work packing for people in need. Carts are still filled with food, ripe for the taking - but the question looms ... will it stay this way?

"It would be very detrimental. People would just starve," said Bridgewater.

Many people who utilize this food bank could be in danger of going hungry if things continue like this the rest of the month.

SNAP and WIC benefits fall under the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are only prepared to be funded through January under current shutdown conditions.

"This is added stress not knowing whether the food bank would be able to serve them month after month," explained Norma Cable, the Public Relations and Marketing Specialist with the food bank.

Cable said hundreds of thousands of people, like Bridgewater, utilize them each year.

“Food is one of the basic elements of life. It’s one of the bottom Maslow hierarchy of needs that you need. You can’t survive without it,” said Bridgewater. This statement, a reason why she and the food bank are hoping for an end to the shutdown and soon so any starvation may be avoided.

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