Food pantries providing extra aid for furloughed federal workers

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Food banks across the state are tapping into their own resources to provide needed food assistance to furloughed federal workers as the partial government shutdown continues into its 24th day.

It’s their way of helping an already growing issue, according to the executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

“We have, nationwide, some 40, 45 million people who are struggling with food security,” Executive Director Dr. Phillip Knight says. “And now when you add another 800,000 federal employees who aren’t getting paid, we felt like the right thing to do was to walk alongside of them.”

More than 5000 of those employees live right here in Michigan. Knight says any federal employee who needs help because of the shutdown simply has to show their federal I.D. at a participating food bank.

“This is food that is based on the USDA My Plate, so it’s the best balance of nutrition available, and that’s what we’re giving,” Knight says. “We’re not giving the least. We’re always trying to give the best.”

Knight says eventually these food bank reserves will run out. And with no end to the shutdown in sight, the food banks will need more help from their donors and partners. But he says the effort to provide for those in need won’t stop any time soon.

“Of course we would have liked, preferred that [the shutdown] never started to begin with, but since it is going on, we’ll be here for our communities as long as they need us.”

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