A deal has been reached to avoid the default of U.S. government, and some programs and agencies will re-opened. While waiting for the details, the situation could put certain nutrition programs in jeopardy.
The need is evident at Upper Peninsula food banks. Food is in short supply, and shelves are empty.
Many agencies that help the needy in Upper Michigan say there is more need this fall than there has been in many years, and donations are not keeping pace.
“What’s happening is the local pantries are feeling the additional stress,” Manager of Feeding America Dave Mason. “We’re already seeing government workers coming in who have been furloughed. For the most part, we want people to know that the food bank is still here. We have a lot of food . We are, in no way shape or form, having a shortage of food. So as long as donations are holding up, the food will keep flowing.”
The government shutdown put food stamps, the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and other programs in question, but the WIC program has not been affected.
“Nothing on WIC is different,” WIC Coordinator Laura Gauthier said. “We’re still taking new participants and carrying on as usual.”
“An outage occurred, so they weren’t able to use the card on the weekend. They can still use their WIC card, nothing has changed with WIC. Some of the foods have changed–peanut butter and cheese being some of them, but they can contact their local WIC agency and get a new copy of the food guide.”
WIC is a federally funded program, but it is run differently from state to state. You can get up-to-date information at michigan.gov/mdch for any updates.
You can call your local food pantry or church to find out how you can help: donations of non–perishable food items, baby items, and toiletries are always needed.