Gulf Coast, MS (WDAM) - As the government shutdown enters into its third week, Feeding the Gulf Coast will provide food assistance for people affected by the government shutdown, personal crisis or disaster.
Cathy Pope, president and CEO of of Feeding the Gulf Coast, said that the organization wants to minimize the hardship during these uncertain times for hard-working federal employees living in the Gulf Coast. The program serves about 24 counties through south Alabama, south Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle.
In 2018, the food bank distributed over 22 million meals to over 400 church pantries, soup kitchens and other nonprofit organizations throughout its service area.
Perry Central High School is partnered with the food bank to feed families in the Perry County area. Director of federal programs, Jasmine Smith, works with the program in order to help put food on the table for many families in Perry County.
“On any given day you’re one paycheck away from asking, "Do I buy groceries or do I pay the light bill?' So it definitely does have an adverse effect on their ability to meet our needs,” Smith said.
Haley Buchanan, media and events coordinator at Feeding The Gulf Coast, said the organization is preparing for an increase in need.
“We do know today was the first day that a lot of employees missed paychecks, and we do expect to see an increase in client need,” said Buchanan.
One mobile food pantry in Sand Hill, Mississippi called Friends Helping Friends has been around for almost six years and feeds its community through the same program every month.
“We get meats, we get can goods, we get pastries and we get dry goods and we get a lot of produce,” said William Mclain, and organizer of Friends Helping Friends.
If you would like to help at home, here are some ways you can get involved:
- Host a food drive to help supplement any gaps in food supply or increase in the number of clients seeking food assistance as a result of the partial government shutdown.
- Make a monetary donation to Feeding the Gulf Coast. Earmark the donation: ”Government Shutdown Relief.” These funds will be used to provide mobile pantries throughout Feeding the Gulf Coast’s service area and to help procure additional food items.
- Share your story with Feeding the Gulf Coast. How is your community being impacted by the partial government shutdown? Share your story by visiting feedingthegulfcoast.org/share-your-story.