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Foodlink feeling effects of shutdown

Rochester, N.Y. The government shutdown has frozen federal funding to Foodlink, the local nonprofit that manages the supply chain of food to organization that serve the needy in 10 New York counties.

Government dollars provide Foodlink with about 4 million pounds of food, about a quarter of what it distributed last year.

Right now that funding has stopped, so what we have in inventory is all we have and we are using that inventory down, said Jeanette Batiste, Foodlinks chief operating officer.

If the government doesnt reopen soon, Batiste said the community will quickly feel the effects of the food shortage.  Not only has Foodlink lost a chunk of its funding, but several federally funded nutritional programs will be out of money by the end of the month.

Checks are being released through this month, but at the end of October it will stop, Batiste said. There (will be) nothing left.

The SNAP program, formally known as food stamps, is just one of several that will lose its funding at the start of November.

Samuel Baker of Rochester said without SNAP, he will have to rely solely on local food banks. 

It would be frightening to see what happens, Baker said. It might cause riots.

Batiste said Foodlink is in communication with the organizations it serves, talking about rationing supplies until the government reopens.

In the face of an increase with a shrinking food supply, there is absolutely no way we'd be able to meet the need, she said.

As it is, Batiste said food pantries are strained and short on supplies, and the demand for food will double if government assistant programs are cut.

There is no way we could do that, said Batiste. Charity alone cannot meet that need.

 
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