DC food bank seeing increase in recipients as partial government shutdown continues

DC food bank seeing increase in recipients as partial government shutdown continues. (Photo: Amy Aubert, ABC7)

On Tuesday, things remained busy at the Capital Area Food Bank.

“Are we going to put all the heavy stuff on first?” Asked Susie Harris, as she helped load boxes of food onto a pickup truck.

Harris runs the food pantry at Paramount Baptist Church in Southeast. Wednesday will be the first time they’ve opened the pantry this year. They spent Tuesday afternoon stocking up at the Capital Area Food Bank, anticipating crowds potentially impacted by the partial government shutdown.

“I can really sympathize with how they feel,” Harris said. “And that’s why we have to prepare ourselves to service them if there is a need.”

The Capital Area Food Bank says they are already seeing that need.

“Something like this, a prolonged government shutdown, affects family budgets in such a way that they have to go from optimism to, sort of, survivalist mode,” said Radha Muthiah, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank.

Since the partial shutdown, they’ve seen an uptick in calls from people in need.

“The uncertainty is leading to just greater and greater levels of concern and anxiety,” Muthiah said.

Some of the shelves sat empty in the warehouse at the Capital Area Food Bank, which is fairly typical for this time of year.

“We are waiting on further shipments of food,” Muthiah explained, walking through the warehouse. “Of course, we know we are guaranteed the shipments from the U.S. government and U.S.D.A. for January, but we’ve been asked to check in terms of what will happen for February.”

She says it’s also unclear what will happen after this month with SNAP, the formal name for food stamps.

“We are concerned about what will happen if the shutdown continues much longer,” she said.

You can find more information on how you can receive help or donate on the Capital Area Food Bank’s website.

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