Shutdown leaves food bank worried about keeping shelves stocked

Posted: Updated:
STAMFORD -
As the government shutdown continues in its third week, operators of a Stamford food bank are nervous about the future of their funding.
 
The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County relies on funding from government programs like FEMA and the USDA to keep their shelves fully stocked. They worry the funding could run out if the shutdown continues much longer.
 
"If the USDA food is not forthcoming to the agencies that depend on it, then those agencies are going to look to this food bank to make up the difference," says Kate Lombardo, executive director of the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County.
 
Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are funded for the time being, but they only have funds allocated for January. Officials say if SNAP funds were to run out, food banks would see a surge in customers that they may not be able to handle.
 
The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County is now asking for the public's help.
 
"In the meantime, I think people should be aware that if they have food, if they have the means, if they can donate, so that we can be ready for any kind of long-term, however long this is going to be," says Lombardo.
 
Sen. Richard Blumenthal called on the federal government to use its reserves in what he says should be a crisis response because hunger in the state and nationwide "will reach crisis humanitarian proportions."
 
About 80 agencies statewide rely on the food bank to stock their food pantries and soup kitchens. The food bank's website has a list of needed items for donation.
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