Government Shutdown Could Impact Combating Hunger On The First Coast

Jan 8, 2019

As the partial government shutdown continues, federal contractors and employees aren’t the only ones who could find themselves in dire financial straits.

Community aid organizations and initiatives that rely on the government may also be in a bind.

Frank Castillo is president and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida.

“I’ll give you a good example. If you’re a school that has an after-school dinner program, your reimbursements will be on hold until the government reopens. In our particular community, Farm Share has a TEFAP contract. They will not be paid for anything they do in relation to federal commodities because they’re also on a federal reimbursement program,” said Castillo.

TEFAP is government-speak for The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which is a federal initiative that supplements the diets of low-income Americans, including the elderly.

While families who get monthly food stamps are good to go this month and, possibly next, Castillo said people suddenly in need of those benefits may enter a long wait because there is no one processing applications.

However, he says, his food bank network is keeping a close watch on the situation and making plans to meet the needs that might arise from the government shutdown.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at choskinson@wjct.org, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

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