Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Current Issues

Government Shutdown Updates

The federal government has been shut down for an unprecedented 28 days, and it is unclear when it will reopen. Meanwhile, hardworking people in our community are struggling to make ends meet. As one federal employee explained, "It's been a drastic effect. I've been doing odd jobs that I haven't had to do in the past. I had to take funds out of my 401(k)."

There are many messages being circulated about the shutdown, what it means for the people we serve, and how it impact federal employess. 

Here's what we know about how the shutdown is impacting food assistance:

  • TEFAP, The Emergency Food Assistance Program provides government-funded, nutritious food to Food Banks across the country. TEFAP food deliveries should be available without interruption through March.
  • CSFP, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, provides boxes of nutritious, shelf-stable food to seniors in need once per month. This program is funded through March, but only people who received boxes in 2018 will receive boxes until the government reopens; no new participants are currently being added to the program.
  • SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, provides monetary food assistance for more than 1.4 million Ohioans. The program is currently funded through February. On January 16 February benefits were released early. Individuals will not receive an additional benefit the first week of February. In the event that the shutdown does not end in February, we do not know the next time SNAP recipients will receive their monthly benefits.
  • WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, provides supplemental foods to low-income pregnant women and mothers, and to infants and children up to age five.  The program is funded through February.
  • Funding for children's programs is available through March, including free and reduced price school breakfast and lunch. If income eligible, furloughed federal employees and their families may apply for the school meals program.
  • The Food Bank Help Center has experienced an influx of calls from federal employees and SNAP recipients who are worried about keeping food on the table if the shutdown continues

Here's how you can help:

  • Reach out. If you are impacted by this shutdown and need help, please call our Food Bank Help Center at 216.738.2067. Our client help specialists are staffing phones every weekday from 7 am to 6 pm ready to connect you to food and other resources during difficult times like these.
  • Spread the word.  If someone you know is impacted by the government shutdown, please let them know that the Greater Cleveland Food Bank is here to help. Those in need can call the Food Bank's Help Center at 216.738.2067. The Food Bank is committed to providing much-needed assistance and information on other services during this time of uncertainty.
  • Advocate with us. If you'd like to help those impacted by this shutdown, please join our Advocacy Network. When it's time to act to protect programs that help hungry Americans, we'll engage the network to advocate for the 1 in 6 Northeast Ohioans who are food insecure.
  • Donate. Your help is more important than ever because the need will grow as the shutdown continues. Thousands of federal employees -- maybe your neighbors or family members -- are going without pay through no fault of their own. As we receive more calls to our Help Center, we need your support to ensure federal employees and their families have the nutritious food they need. Please, donate now.