• Major local food bank sees 20 percent spike in food need after last month's shutdown

    By: Lorena Inclan , Action News Jax


    Feeding Northeast Florida has seen a 20 percent uptick in food need because of last month's partial shutdown of the federal government.

    The demand continues to be high just one week before another potential shutdown over border wall funding.

    The president and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida, Frank Castillo, said the effects of last month’s shutdown will be felt well into March.

    If there’s a second shutdown it would be devastating.

    “Our friends at the USO in Mayport say they've continued to see the need. Even when the federal government isn’t shut down we help about 500 naval families,” said Castillo.

    The good news is food manufacturers and retailers have stepped up, helping the food bank keep up with the demand.

    But Feeding Northeast Florida could still use your help. One way to help is by volunteering. Another is to donate. That money will go toward moving trucks full of food to communities that need them the most.

    “Every dollar allows us to get six meals to the people that need help,” said Castillo.

    According to Castillo, those who receive SNAP benefits would also be impacted if there’s a second shutdown.

    “They got their February benefits on Jan. 20. To put it into perspective that typically lasts the recipient four weeks so next week we get to the fourth week already and if the government shut downs again now we have a bigger problem,” said Castillo.

    Castillo believes it’s highly unlikely another shutdown will occur, but they’re prepared if it comes to that.

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