Chattanooga Food Bank holds leadership summit to discuss partial government shutdown

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – As federal workers and contractors will miss their second paycheck, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank held a meeting with organizations, stakeholders, and local leaders Thursday afternoon.

It was a way for the groups to talk about issues, what they’re currently experiencing and how to collaborate to help people affected by the partial government shutdown.

“Obviously, it’s not just the federal employees and contract workers that might be affected by the government shutdown. There’s a ripple affect, SNAP recipients, WIC recipients, and collateral damage to folks who might not have ever had a need before in our community and they’re not quite sure how to access this and there’s also this stigma of needing help, they’ve never had to request help. So, we wanted to address that,” Chattanooga Area Food Bank President and CEO Gina Crumbliss said.

“For February, we’re expecting towards the tail end of February really, if the shutdown does not go away, we’re going to see a lot of heightened need when it comes to food accessibility and resources, and so that’s really one of the biggest things that we’re thinking about right now, is okay, so we have the federal workers right now are furloughed, but what happens when you add SNAP recipients as well as WIC recipients,” United Way Marketing and Digital Strategies Director Stephen Van Gorp said.

According to the food bank, food stamps are funded through the end of February.

Keeping up to date on SNAP benefits was one of the reasons why Chattanooga Housing Authority Case Manager Jonathon Worth came to the meeting.

He said residents have contacted him about how the shutdown might impact their benefits.

“There seems to be kind of an apathy toward the whole situation, kind of a feeling of there’s nothing we can really do, the government’s going to do what it’s going to do and we can’t affect that, which has been pretty disheartening,” Worth said.

Worth volunteered to be a part of two committees that are being put together.

The food bank is creating committees for finance and funding, marketing and advocacy.

They’re also planning on holding a similar meeting in Georgia for the counties they serve there.

If you or someone you know is being affected by the shutdown and need resources, call 2-1-1.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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