Food Shelves Unite to Help Furloughed Workers
The federal partial government shutdown has reached the one-month mark. And there’s no sign it will end anytime soon. The stalemate has two local food shelves teaming up to help furloughed government workers facing a financial crisis.
“We’re Trying to Stretch Our Budget”
Friday is stock up day at PRISM in Golden Valley. The local food shelf is seeing people they normally would not expect to see.
“We have 30 new people every single week walking in the door,” said Michelle Ness, executive director at PRISM. “We’re starting to see, along with CEAP, federal employees coming in.”
About 6,000 to 7,000 federal workers in the Twin Cities metro are impacted by the partial government shutdown. According to Ness, some of those people are coming to places like PRISM.
“We want them to come here for help before things get really bad,” said Ness.
Officials at the Golden Valley nonprofit expected to see government workers come through the door. However, they were not counting on the shutdown lasting this long. Now, it is changing the way they typically do business.
“We’re looking at what’s on sale,” said Ness. “What are the deals that we can get right now? We’re trying to stretch our budget.”
No End in Sight
Hamline Political Science Professor David Schultz says it doesn’t look like the shutdown is ending anytime soon.
“It looks like Nancy Pelosi and the president are getting farther and farther apart,” he said.
Schultz says it’s time to put politics aside. He and his wife donated $1,000 to PRISM. The first $1,000 donated to PRISM was matched dollar for dollar on Friday.
PRISM and another local food shelf, CEAP, are in the planning stages of creating a food shelf network to share information about demand and delivery services. The uncertainty of the shutdown has PRISM taking a day-by-day approach.
“We’re looking at February, we’re looking at March. Goodness only knows what happens,” said Ness.