As you know, MANNA is a non-partisan organization dedicated to providing information on issues that could affect the lives of the people we serve. Therefore, it is important to look at the potential impacts of the government shutdown.
Working families who had felt secure are now facing the reality that their next pay check may not come. And perhaps the one after that.
As many wrestle with the fact that they too may not be able to afford their most basic needs, rest assured MANNA will continue to stand up alongside our incredible community and provide food with hope and dignity to people in need throughout Western North Carolina.
What’s On MANNA’s Radar
First, and most immediate, we all have concern for federal workers now going on a fourth week without pay. Many families once feeling secure in their lives are now facing the reality that they soon may not have enough money to meet their most basic needs.
The second effect, if this shutdown continues indefinitely, could be the large-scale food emergency that thousands of households would face should SNAP benefits cease. For every 1 meal provided by MANNA and the Feeding America network of food banks, SNAP provides 12.
And third—an ongoing challenge magnified in times of unforeseen crisis—is the serious issue of food access. The shutdown is putting many families closer to potential crisis circumstances that require a significant increase in resources and support.
A Family-Level Crisis: Local Federal Workers Missing Income
With your help, MANNA FoodBank and our network of partner agencies serve over 100,000 people in Western North Carolina throughout the year who find themselves in a situation of needing food assistance. The majority of the people we serve are working families with children and elders, faced with high living costs and a bare minimum budget – the absolute basics – that their income doesn’t cover.
If we all take a moment and think through what it would mean for our own families or loved ones if we missed one paycheck, two paychecks…six paychecks, or even months’ worth. We can picture the financial strain it would place on our mortgages and rent, bills, medical expenses, and our grocery budgets.
Large Scale Consequences: The Ripple Effects
At this point, none of us can predict how long the shutdown will last. However, if it should continue beyond the end of February, the vital lifeline of SNAP would be in jeopardy and millions of people across the country who depend on SNAP will no longer have the supplemental nutrition they need to get by.
It is crucial that we truly understand the scale of the consequences of not receiving SNAP benefits. While we will continue to provide food through our network of 200+ food partners, MANNA would need to amplify our distributions by 12x in order to bridge the gap that the loss of SNAP benefits would create.
Starting Friday, January 18, 2019, MANNA is opening our doors on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, from 3-6PM, to provide groceries to federal employees and their families. If you are a federal worker in need of food support during the shutdown, please bring your federal I.D. and grocery bags. Feel free to share this information with your networks, particularly if you know of people who are directly affected by the shutdown and need food. (If the shutdown continues through the end of January, we will reassess the open food pickup hours and inform the public.)
MANNA is also working with local organizations and community groups to provide pop-up markets in areas where affected workers can easily access food support.
We are so very thankful for our incredible community network of partners and supporters that have come together and grown stronger each year.
Together, with your support, we will grow to meet the need to ensure that we are able to feed each and every child, senior, neighbor, and family throughout our community.
For our neighbors that need help today, and those worried they may need to start receiving help tomorrow, MANNA stands at the ready to serve our community and provide food with hope, and dignity.