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Government Shutdown Having Little Effect On Local Food Pantries

Courtesy of the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry

Northern Illinois food banks are holding steady, despite the arrival of winter and a continuing government shutdown.

The Sauk Valley Food Bank in Sterling distributes food to pantries in Whiteside and Lee Counties, and outlying areas like Freeport. Executive Director Andrea Hensgen says their work hasn’t been affected much by the shutdown, but there has been a slight change in clientele.

“We’ve had maybe a few families that are state workers that are not receiving a paycheck and just need a little bit of help for now, but it’s nothing major. It’s nothing we certainly can’t handle,” she said.

Rock River Valley Pantry in Rockton distributes food directly, and receives supplies from local food banks. Executive Director Kim Adams-Bakke says February is usually their least demanding month. But state government is releasing February food stamps this week.   Adams-Bakke says this puts recipients into a nebulous situation.

“And if people aren’t careful on how they allocate those funds, since they’re receiving them earlier, it means they could run out of those benefits before the end of February," she said.

Fortunately, many food banks and pantries operate without the use of federal funding. This means their operations are unaffected by the shutdown.