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Federal Assistance Cuts Increase Demand On Local Charities

Salvation Army USA West

The end of federally-funded unemployment benefits this past Saturday means tens-of-thousands of longtime unemployed Floridians may soon find themselves relying on local charities to get by.Bruce Ganger is the head of Second Harvest food bank on the First Coast. Ganger says eliminating unemployment benefits coupled with recent cuts to the federal food stamp program impacts everyone, not just those directly involved.

“It ripples out into our health care system because people who don’t have adequate access and availability of healthy, nutritious food are going to be sick," he said.

There's also an impact on education because more kids are coming to school hungry and an impact on the workplace.

"If people aren't well nourished," Ganger said, "they aren’t as productive and that costs both the employer and the employee.”

According to Ganger, one out of every six people on the First Coast don’t have enough to eat.

While local farms, packing houses, grocery store chains and other retailers make sure Second Harvest has enough food, Ganger says what he needs most from the community are cash donations to pay for transporting the food to the neighborhoods that need it most.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.