Government shutdown could affect local food pantries

5:07 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Government shutdown is taking a toll on many Americans. If it continues it could affect our local food pantries. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture stopped funding those programs. Right now groups like Second Harvest tell us they're doing alright. But they're anticipating possibly crippling effects.

Beverly Earsing, is the director of the Health Begins Before Birth program, at Second Harvest. She helps to deliver about 70 pounds of nutritious food to expectant mothers every other week. Second Harvest is the food source for more than 400 non-profit agencies in North Florida. It relies on a number of sources to help feed our hungry, including the USDA.

"It was on 'E'," said Gwen Kinsey. "It was empty. It was naked."

Gwen Kinsey, now 5 months pregnant, jokes about how bare her fridge was before Earsing's visit. She has a severe case of diabetes and due to a lack of proper nutrition and medicine, Kinsey says she's had five miscarriages. 

"I've been crying forever," said Kinsey.

This time around with the help of Second Harvest Kinsey is in her second trimester eagerly awaiting the healthy birth of her daughter.

"Oh she's kicking with her little peanut head self," exclaimed Kinsey as she held her stomach. "She's just kicking and moving thank God! Yeah!"  

Kinsey's fiancé works at a fast-food restaurant and in her condition she hasn't been able to work so making ends meet is a constant battle. One she believes she can't win without help.

Bruce Ganger with Second Harvest tells FCN they're watching closely to see what the governments next move will be. 

And with SNAP benefits on the chopping block, Ganger believes pantries will see a big increase in the number of people that will need help feeding their families.

First Coast News

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