COLORADO SPRINGS — Local nonprofit organizations are preparing for the potential of a government shutdown, including Pikes Peak United Way and Care and Share Food Bank. They’re paying close attention to the situation, so they can still support the community.
“Certainly if this does happen, there is certainly an increase in need. We know that that will happen,” said Shannon Coker, the Chief Operating Office with Care and Share Food Bank.
Last year, the organization provided food to more than 200,000 people across Southern Colorado. Coker said there are about 40,000 government contractor employees in the state of Colorado, and they anticipate more neighbors needing help through their services and their partners if a shutdown happens.
Coker added, the organization is ready to respond in case of an emergency like this.
“During and after emergencies like this, being as prepared as possible, making sure that we are acquiring as much food as we possibly can to support our neighbors in need,” said Coker.
The organization also saw a 15% increase in people needing help in the last year, and Coker worries the shutdown could be another challenge for some families.
“We’re worried certainly about the government shutdown and even more people needing to access our services through our partner agencies,” said Coker.
The possible government shutdown is also forcing organizations like Pikes Peak United Way to have a plan in place.
“It could happen, it could not happen, and a plan is always a good thing to have,” said Heather Steinman, the Chief Operating Officer with United Way.
Steinman says they're expecting an increase in people seeking help, but it’s hard to anticipate who may need the most help.
“Could that be veterans? Could that be individuals that are no longer receiving a paycheck? Yes, how large could that be? We have five military installations in our community, so it could be quite large,” said Steinman.
The United Way has also been communicating with local non-profits like Tri Lakes Cares, Catholic Charities, and Care and Share, as well as city and county leaders. Steinman said it’s a collaborative effort to continue providing resources if a shutdown happens, and they want to make sure everyone is prepared to help people impacted.
“So we were asking, ‘are you ready for this? What does our food look like? What does it look like if the government shuts down and the first paycheck on October 4, is not received by people, who's ready to help support that?’”
The United Way also receives about 40,000 phone calls annually to 2-1-1. It’s a free, confidential resource providing referrals for things like food, housing, bills and more.
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