Government Shutdown: What You Need to Know

Before the end of the last Congress, we saw the start of the government shutdown and it currently has no end in sight. Here’s a quick rundown of what a shutdown is, and who this is affecting.

What is the shutdown?

The government shutdown happens when Congress cannot come to an agreement on the next fiscal year’s budget. Currently, there is a disagreement in funding resulting in the shutdown.

How long has it lasted?

The shutdown will end when Congress is able to work together and come to an agreement on which areas should be funded. It started on December 21, 2018, and is now entering the third week.

Check out a discussion on what the shutdown is all about, who is affected and how you can help on Facebook Live.

Who does this affect?

The shutdown affects all “non-essential” federal government employees. This means people like TSA agents, park rangers, Congressional staff, staff for whole departments, like USDA.

Because the shutdown has lasted nearly 3 weeks, many of these “furloughed” employees have been working without pay. There’s a lot of uncertainty about how these individuals will be able to pay rent, or how they’ll be able to put food on the table. Approximately 800,000 federal workers and federal contractors have been furloughed without pay for an indefinite period, and it is expected that paychecks for federal workers and contractors will not arrive as scheduled.

It will also affect the 710,000 Central Floridians who use SNAP to put food on their tables. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is funded by the federal government and faces a February deadline for funding.

Other programs such as WIC and Child Nutrition Programs will have funding through February too.

Do you need food assistance?

If you have been affected by the government shutdown please reach out to us for help.

  • Online: Visit our Food Finder tool online to find your local food pantries.
  • Phone: Call our main number 407-295-1066 to receive a list of food pantries near you.
  • Visit our community resources page if you need other types of assistance.

What will SHFB do and how is it affected?

Since SNAP has funding through February, there will not be an immediate impact for this program, but the food bank is already seeing an uptick in searches for feeding partners to find food assistance. Second Harvest has also received a few questions from furloughed employees who need resources to assist them during the government shutdown.

Second Harvest estimates that if this shutdown continues for a few months, there would be roughly $500,000 shortfall due to government contracts such as Head Start, after-school meals, and others. Once the shutdown ends, Second Harvest would be reimbursed for our social entrepreneurship services.

This equals approximately 1 million meals that will disappear from Central Florida.

Second Harvest will not be cutting any services and will always find a way to continue to support our feeding partners in Central Florida.

What can you do to help?

If you need assistance, visit www.feedhopenow.org/need to find the nearest feeding partner or community resource near you.

Donations are also welcome, both monetary and food items, to assist during the prolonged shutdown.

Volunteers are also needed to sort and pack donations, stock shelves and help ensure food is ready to be distributed out into the community.

Are you affected by the government shutdown? Email us about it. If you’re willing to be interviewed, please provide your name and phone number.

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