Daryl Staneck started working at Loop Ministries' food pantry two years ago. Back then, she would hand out 50-55 bags of groceries to needy individuals or families.
Today, they average about 440 bags.
"Our need is through the roof, and I've been watching it grow steadily, and my population is not predominantly homeless. It's predominantly struggling families that just can't get by – a lot of unemployed, a lot of underemployed."
Staneck relies on our area's regional food bank, Foodlink, for supplies, but she is worried and so is Foodlink's COO Jeanette Batiste. As long as the government shutdown continues, there will be no more deliveries from the federal government, and that's about a quarter of all the food that comes into this food bank.
"There's no longer free peanut butter," said Staneck. "There's no longer free canned fruit. There's no longer free tomato sauce, and that means I have to spend dollars to buy all of those – they're staples."
The Food Research and Action Center in Washington D.C. says the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will continue providing food stamps at least through October. There may be contingency funding available to extend that but no one really knows what will happen should the shutdown continue.
FRAC also said the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or WIC won't get any federal funds. Some states will manage to pick up the costs but only for a limited time.
"If they were receiving SNAP or WIC, now that funding's gone, they're not going to be able to put enough food on the table. They will go to their local pantry. Local pantries and the emergency food system is already at capacity," said Batiste. "We need to get it together and ensure people have enough to eat."