COLORADO SPRINGS – Ecumenical Social Ministries is making sure their shelves are as full as possible, now that they’re expanding their food pantry services to all furloughed government workers in El Paso County.
“Friday or Monday is the pay date that most people will be missing their first check. So that’s going to be jarring for a lot of people,” said ESM Executive Director Ann Lantz.
Lantz says they’re trying to stock up for what could be an even bigger need, next month.
“I am on food stamps. That is my way of living at the moment while I try to find work. Unfortunately, not having food stamps would be a danger to my health,” said Jon Tompkins, who is currently homeless.
Tompkins has Type 1 diabetes, and says he relies on food stamps to keep his blood sugar normal.
He picks up food from the ESM food pantry about once a week.
If the government shutdown continues into February, though, people like Tompkins would risk having their SNAP and WIC funding disrupted.
Congress has appropriated funding for SNAP through January, according to the USDA, but requires annual renewal.
A lot could happen between now and February 1st, including emergency funding being used for SNAP next month.
Tompkins has already started preparing for the worst, though.
“I’d be at ESM a heck of a lot more.”
If that were to happen, ESM expects their shelves would be empty after just the first week in February.
Lantz says the emergency T-FAP food at their pantry would be gone by March.
“And we’re very concerned about that because of the number of people who depend on those programs.”
Lantz says they’ll do whatever possible to make sure everyone is fed, but they’ll need some extra help from the community in the coming month to keep pace.
“This is the time to donate because we don’t know what’s coming.”
If you are interested in donating, click here.