Local food programs for low-income families could be affected if shutdown continues

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — As the partial government shutdown continues, the regional food bank is concerned about its affects on their programs.

The Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore works with 400 partner agencies and programs throughout the area, according Ruth Jones Nichols, the organization’s chief executive officer.

The Food Bank is a United States Department of Agriculture commodity and Jones Nichols says they provide most of their bulk items and reimbursement for its annual $30 million budget.

“I’m not sure folks truly understand what’s at stake with the partial shutdown,” she said.

Jones Nichols says that they were told on Tuesday they will continue to be reimbursed and provided supplies until the end of March, but things are uncertain after that.

She’s concerned because it could affect around 1,300 low-income kids who get free hot meals through their Kids Café programs.

“It’s not only important that we sustain these programs, but make sure we look at what we could do differently in order to make sure our families are able to provide healthy, nutritious meals throughout the year,” Jones Nichols said.

The Food Bank also connects people to SNAP benefits. Jones Nichols says that program has been allocated $5 billion nationally.

So far, they’ve already helped more than 500 people at a cost of $1.6 million.

Jones Nichols says if you’re concerned you may be affected, visit their website at https://foodbankonline.org/.

She also recommends contacting elected officials to let them know what you think about the shutdown and why food nutritional programs are important.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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