TUCSON, Ariz. - Less than a week into the government shutdown, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona is already preparing for the worst if Congress can't come to an agreement -- running out of food.
The Tucson pantry serves around 9,000 people every month with emergency food boxes and the commodity supplemental food program. But come January, it could all be in jeopardy.
Marco Liu, the director of advocacy and outreach, says they have placed orders for food that should last a few weeks, if the shutdown becomes longterm.
But the longer the shutdown, the greater the impact will be on the community, Liu says.
Child nutrition programs including school lunch and breakfast will continue through February. But SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is funded only through January.
The food bank staff is wondering now if they'll soon have to ration their supply.
"If the SNAP program is impacted, it will absolutely impact the food bank because a lot of those folks won't have food stamps to deal with so they'll come to the emergency pantries and so forth," Liu said.
Liu says more people tend to donate around the holidays but he hopes donations continue through the new year, given the widespread affects a longterm shutdown would have.