Food pantry faces reality of another government shutdown

Posted at 10:25 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 23:25:21-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Donate to Food Bank for the Heartland here.

"It certainly leaves a lot of questions."

Volunteers flood Food Bank for the Heartland's facility Tuesday night.

Kelly Ptacek is the Vice President of External Affairs for the pantry. She's not sure how much more help she'll need if the government shuts down again.

"The other piece we're not sure of--those folks receiving public assistance like the SNAP program," Ptacek said. "Those folks would be impacted. The volume and impact have yet to be determined."

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services in Nebraska distributed SNAP benefits early. Some food for SNAP are put together by volunteers. Nearly 75,000 Nebraskans have already been stretching their way through the month after receiving early benefits January 20.

"If we were to face another shutdown, we would anticipate more workers turning to us to find assistance," Ptacek said.

As volunteers pack fresh produce, programs like SNAP already rely on Food Bank for the Heartland.

Volunteers are preparing meals for the BackPack program Tuesday night, which will go to elementary students on Friday so they can take the bags home and have something to eat over the weekend.

More and more, hungry people are turning to food pantries.

"I do think so," Ptacek said. "We have federal workers who have been through this once. To put them through this again is detrimental."

"We are doing the best we can to make sure food is available."