SARASOTA (WWSB) -Children and families may soon be going hungry in both Sarasota and Manatee Counties if the government shutdown continues.
The Food Bank of Manatee and All Faiths Food Bank are extremely worried because if this shutdown continues, come February both food banks will need a lot of help from the community because they simply will just not have enough food to feed people on the Suncoast.
The federal government has now been shut down for 20 days.
This is worrisome to Sandra Frank, who is the CEO of All Faiths Food Bank, because she said they help feed nearly a third of families in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. And on top of that she said over half of the children in the Sarasota County School District rely on free and reduced meal programs.
"We have about sixty days to fix this federal shutdown and at that point the funding for the child food programs ends. Those families will come to our doors at the food bank because they will desperately need food," Frank said.
She said if this happens they will try their best to feed people, but it probably won't be enough.
"We'll give it everything we have, we'll put every resource we have into it because children need food, but the reality is that creates such a gap that we could never, ever, fill. It's like a tsunami, it would overwhelm us and all of the other food banks in the state and in the country," said Frank.
And in Manatee County, the Meals On Wheels Plus CEO, Maribeth Phillips, who manages The Food Bank of Manatee, said if this continues, they will be impacted as well.
"Manatee County is going to be the food stamps and the lack of that resource is really going to drive the need even greater at the Food Bank of Manatee," said Phillips.
And when food stamps run out, the food bank will see a greater need.
"We're going to see a flood of people who rely on those food stamps, who are going to have to rely on the food pantries to get food for their families," Phillips said.
What you can do at home to help in both Sarasota and Manatee County is to donate food to your local food bank and organize local food drives at work or in your neighborhood so that there will be help for families and children if this shutdown continues.