Local Food Bank Prepares for Influx of Clients Due to Government Shutdown

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EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. -

According to experts, during any given month, officials with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey will assist roughly 800 community members. Now, with the government shutdown nearing a month, they’re seeing an influx of clients due to the many federal employees not working, or working without a paycheck.

“It’s definitely affecting us in a way of — we’re seeing more families coming to us for assistance," said Kimberly Arroyo, director, agency relations and programs, Community FoodBank of New Jersey. "We have approximately 1,700 unemployed furloughed workers just in our service area, which is Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland County.”

“Over the last 24 hours we’ve had a visit from the Coast Guard, and also we’ve had an FAA worker, and also another lady who is also involved as a federal worker," said Debra Fleischer, pantry manager, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch. "So, in the last couple of days we’ve had between 12 to 15 visits as opposed to not ever before.”

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Officials with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey are letting all government employees know that they are welcome at their pantry. All they need is their government ID. Arroyo said all other red tape admissions and eligibility requirements are lifted during this government shutdown.

“We do have a lot of individuals that never had to use a food pantry before. We see it every day," said Arroyo. "This is not shameful. We are a community here to help. There’s no shame in it. This is not by any fault of your own.”

“Don’t hesitate, don’t feel bad. Come on in," said Fleischer. "Nobody is denied food."

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The Community FoodBank of New Jersey is stocked from floor to ceiling with goods for people who may be in need, but that doesn’t mean they’re not constantly looking for donations. Monetary donations are preferred, but anyone can leave a food donation right at their location in Egg Harbor Township.

“It’s a pleasure to be with and provide for others who have provided safety and other elements for us and our county," said Fleischer.

With the influx, officials with the Food Bank are making sure that they’re keeping reserves of nonperishable foods and water, as well as asking more people to volunteer their time.

For more information, go to cfbnj.org.

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