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Government Shutdown Hurting Local Food Pantries

North Texas Food Bank logo

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Those who depend on the North Texas Food Bank to feed their families are being hurt by the partial federal government shutdown.

More than five million pounds of food were scheduled to be delivered to the food bank between now and February 1.  However, because of the shutdown deliveries for nearly two million pounds of that food have been cancelled or are in jeopardy of being cancelled.

NTFB supplies food to pantries in 13 North Texas counties, like Minnie's Food Pantry in Plano, which already has dozens of empty shelves.

"We started counting...I had 45 empty shelves, and when I open up and begin to serve then that number will increase.  My fear is that if we don't get something by the end of this month then our whole pantry may be shut down from what we normally serve," said Minnie's Food Pantry founder Cheryl Jackson.

As the holidays get closer, Jackson is worried she will not be able to keep up with a predicted growing demand for food.

"When I have to look at a mother, who has her child, and she's saying that she's not going to get WIC for this month. And normally we let families come in once a month, and now they are asking can they come twice cause they know they will not have food…I am crying with them," she said.

The government shutdown comes at a time when the NTFB was already struggling to refill its shelves after a busy summer.  In addition, families who depend on food stamps will see their benefits cut next month.

"The government shutdown, the SNAP cuts on November 1, low food inventory and a lack of volunteers have placed North Texan children, families, seniors and our food bank in a perfect storm scenario.  A continued government shutdown will directly impact moms and children on WIC, while SNAP benefits will be reduced on November 1 forcing hungry families to go to the supermarket with $34 less.  Families who depend on these benefits to feed their children will be most hurt.  This is totally unacceptable in modern day America," said North Texas Food Bank President and CEO Jan Pruitt.

NTFB is calling on North Texans to donate in the following three ways:

1) Donate food at the Cockrell Hill distribution campus, 4500 S. Cockrell Hill Road.  Nutritious, family-size, non-perishable canned foods such as vegetables, fruits and meats are the most needed items.

2) Donate your time by volunteering at one of two distribution centers from Tuesday-Saturday.  Volunteers must be at least 10 years old.  Click here for more information or call 214-270-2055.

3) Donate financially.  Every $1 donation can buy three meals.  Click here to donate.

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