During the 35-day federal shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, Gleaners implemented a food box program in partnership with the United Way for Southeast Michigan to support federal employees facing an emergency situation. After missing two pay periods, federal employees, including the 5,000 who live in the area, are back at work after government leaders reached an agreement Jan. 25 to reopen the government.
But uncertainty remains – the current agreement will only last three weeks so the threat of another shutdown looms and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients are still vulnerable and at risk of running out of money by mid-February. During the shutdown, benefits were released early so recipients now face a long gap between February and March payments and will have to stretch those dollars even more than they usually would. In Southeast Michigan, more than 283,000 households, which already struggle to put food on the table, depend on SNAP.
Furloughed workers will likely be paid this Friday, so Gleaners will keep food boxes on location at partner sites through the end of the week. Gleaners has been supplying distribution sites in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, and Monroe counties with food boxes to help struggling families bridge the gap in the short term.
Gleaners thanks everyone for their support during this urgent situation.
“I am very proud of the Gleaners team, the United Way, and our partner network for the way this situation was handled,” says Gleaners President and CEO Gerry Brisson. “We had a measured response throughout the shutdown and provided much needed help when help was needed without affecting our standard programs and distributions.”
Gleaners has received several gifts specifically to help the furloughed worker distributions, but not enough to cover the whole cost thus far. Leaders are working on a fundraising plan.
Come back to gcfb.org in the coming weeks for further updates on the shutdown and its impact on the people we serve.
If you want to help provide food for workers impacted by the government shutdown, click here to make a tax-deductible gift.