The clock is ticking in Washington as Congress potentially heads toward a government shutdown.
If lawmakers can’t reach a deal on funding the federal government, a shutdown would begin at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1.
In the event of a shutdown, thousands of federal employees will be furloughed and disruptions will come to assistance programs for things like food and childcare. The federal workers who are deemed essential will have to report to work without pay until a resolution is reached.
The Mid-Ohio Food Collective, (MOFC) is prepared to serve families that may be impacted by the possible shutdown.
“Folks are facing tough choices everyday,” Mike Hochron, the Senior VP of Communications at MOFC said. “Do I pay my rent? Do I pay my medical bills? Do I buy my medication? Or do I put that money into food for my family?”
Last year, Hochron said MOFC helped put food on the dinner plates of more than 700,000 Ohioans. This year they are busier because of inflation. A government shutdown would accelerate the work they are already doing.
“We know that the shutdown is going to impact some people immediately and then perhaps more over time,” Hochron said. “In the short term, we know that government employees, government contractor and active duty military members may find that they’re no longer getting their regular paychecks. We know that people who maybe never thought that they would need to ask for help to keep food on the table, find themselves in that position.”
We know that people who maybe never thought that they would need to ask for help to keep food on the table, find themselves in that position. – Mike Hochron
There have been 20 shutdowns since 1976 and most of them have been short-term. Hochron said during the latest shutdown in 2018-2019, the MOFC found ways to serve federal workers while they weren’t getting paid and they are prepared to do that again.
“The TSA agents at John Glenn International still had to report to work to keep flights going to keep our nation’s transportation safe, but they weren’t getting paid to do it,” Hochron said. “So we worked with the TSA agents at the airport to get some specialty distributions for them when they needed it.”
MOFC has 600 locations across Ohio. Families can drive through and pick up food at the main distribution center in Grove City or they can visit a Mid-Ohio Market close to their home.
MOFC uses the website FreshTrak to help families find the locations nearby.
Eligible shoppers must have a household income that is less than 200% of the federal poverty line, but Hochron said if there is a government shutdown, they won’t turn families away who need help.
“If you are impacted by the shut down, if your family needs help, please ask,” Hochron said. “That’s what we’re here for. And then maybe someday you can give back when things are better.”
Hunger is a non-partisan issue. And regardless of what side of the aisle you might fall on, we should all agree that no one in our community should go hungry. – Mike Hochron
MOFC leaders said they are also always in need of volunteers. Hochron said every week, the need more than 1,000 people to help serve the thousands of Ohioans in need.
Source : ABC 6