Upstate food bank bracing for impact of government shutdown

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As the government shutdown heads into its fourth week, Harvest Hope Food Bank stands ready for an increased demand. But the agency needs help. 

Harves Hope serves as a refuge for those in their time of need. Since federal employees didn’t receive paychecks last Friday, those employees, plus seniors, and SNAP recepients, may have to come to the food bank to make sure their cupboards are filled.

If the government shutdown continues, some food bank officials said that it could hurt some of the people they serve, like the hundreds of boxes that go out to elderly residents in the Upstate.

The Senior Box Program — a program that’s funded by the government — provides a box filled with food each month to at least 700 seniors.

“The fact that the government is shut down, we are going to see, as of Feb. 1, funding be eliminated for this program,” said Harvest Hope Food Pantry Volunteer Coordinator Tanya Yachaina. “So, we will be needing an increase of donations in order to serve these seniors that have been dependent on this for their lives.”

Shelley and Kristian Terhune are among hundreds of volunteers who help put client bags together.

In addition to walk-in clients, Harvest Hope supplies food to 80 nonprofits. Food pantry officials said they expect to see more clients coming through their doors soon after federal employees didn’t get paychecks last Friday.

“People do not need to suffer in silence, we’re here to help,” Yachaina said.

For many, every can, every package and every box will make a difference as the shutdown continues.  

Harvest Hope Food Bank serves nearly 200 clients a day. Most are seniors and those who receive financial help from the government.

The S.C. Department of Social Services announced Tuesday the agency would issue February SNAP benefits on Jan.17 due to the shutdown. 

DSS said in a news release that SNAP recipients won’t receive another benefit next month, even if the federal government reopens.

An estimated 231,000 households will be affected, according to DSS.

The agency encouraged recipients to “carefully plan and budget their benefits accordingly.”

We’ve also learned the IRS is recalling 46,000 workers to handle tax refunds without pay.

Click or tap here for more information about Harvest Hope Food Bank

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