The partial shutdown affects federal government employees and contractors, such as TSA agents, food safety inspectors, air traffic controllers and others. They are furloughed, or working without pay.
There are more than 28,000 federal employees living and working in Northern Illinois. Many of these employees have gone unpaid for more than 30 days and are facing a lot of uncertainty about how they will continue to afford day-to-day living expenses such as paying rent or putting food on their table.
The shutdown is also affecting the nearly 500,000 neighbors in Northern Illinois who rely on The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Formerly known as food stamps, this federal program is currently fully-funded through the month of February.
The decision to visit a food pantry is often a difficult choice for our neighbors. Between the stigma surrounding pantries and common misconceptions about how the system works, many neighbors do not seek the assistance they need. Northern Illinois Food Bank’s network of more than 900 food pantries, soup kitchens and feeding sites is here to serve all our neighbors in need with dignity and respect.
To see if you or your family could be eligible for SNAP benefits, or if you already receive SNAP and have questions or concerns regarding your benefits during the shutdown, our SNAP Outreach Team is here for you:
While the Food Bank administers a number of federal nutrition programs and relies on some government funding, we are confident we can continue serving all our neighbors – including those directly impacted by the shutdown – thanks to the ongoing support from our community.
Here are some ways you can get involved if you would like to help the Food Bank ensure no one in Northern Illinois goes hungry: