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North Texas Food Banks Collaborate To Help Furloughed Federal Workers

MANSFIELD (CBSDFW.COM) - Repercussions of the partial government shutdown are being felt across North Texas, with many furloughed workers turning to food banks to make ends meet.

So many families are contacting pantries that an emergency meeting is being held to try and figure out how the food banks will deal with what they call "a major strain on resources".

As the shutdown is about to enter its sixth week, thousands of federal workers will go without a second paycheck today... that means they haven't had any income since the end of December.

"Folks are worried. They're scared," said Rick Bousquet, with Harvesting International Ministries. "We're getting calls [because] they've never been in this situation. We're talking about middle class people that work."

Today Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price joins other mayors from across the country in our nation's capital to advocate to end the shutdown that she says is impacting more than 29,000 Texans.

The Mayor took to Twitter before leaving saying, "While I don't have the power to open the government, I am going to do my part and advocate to end this shutdown."

As many federal workers wonder when they'll get their next paycheck, food pantries are answering the call for help, but their supply isn't unlimited. Charities across the metroplex say they're increasingly receiving calls -- not only from individuals but actual government departments -- asking for help.

The drain on supplies at multiple organizations is something Harvesting International calls "unprecedented". So today representatives from a number of North Texas food banks and pantries collaborated with area churches, the Salvation Army, and other groups, at an emergency meeting in Mansfield.

The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm about how organizations are coping with the influx of needy families and how to work to "complement one another to be mindful of resources."

One decision made during the meeting -- the group is creating a list where organizations can collaborate. "[The goal is] to understand what everyone is doing," explained Bousquet. "We're going to create a resource list from the organizations that are involved specifically again with what they're doing with furloughed workers."

Individuals wanting to help furloughed workers can contribute to their local food bank, to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund or give to the National Diaper Bank Network, which is distributing diapers to furloughed workers across the country.

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