Federal government shutdown leaving many metro families hungry for help

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- People who work for the federal government and those who rely on its programs are now feeling the sting of the ongoing government shutdown.

The shutdown is now in its 24th day -- with no end in sight.

Federal workers just missed their first paycheck since the shutdown started on Friday. That, coupled with a change in how food stamp money is given, could have many more families hungry for help.

The shelves are full at Impact Ministry Family Resource Center at Blue Springs First Baptist Church, but it won't stay that way for long.

"It goes out as fast as it comes in," said Kim Danley, director of the center.

The resource center currently serves 500 families a month with essential food, personal care items and clothing. That number is growing by at least 50 families every month, and it's expected to climb even higher with thousands of local federal workers off the job.

"I get it. I get the importance of just what we call a bag of hope, our grocery bags can make, the meat can make, to help you get to the next paycheck," Danley said.

Yet another layer hurting dinner tables during the government shutdown stalemate are food stamps. February benefits are being given now, but there's no guarantee of any future payments as long as the shutdown continues.

"They need to think about the people and not their agenda and what they want to accomplish. They're there for us and not themselves," Lacie Tucker said.

Tucker suffers from a neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Her muscles are so weak, she can barely walk or stand and falls easily, making it virtually impossible to hold a job. Disability benefits and food stamps are her sole means of survival.

"I would hate to have to ask for handouts or favors. I like to be independent and do things on my own. And being disabled it is hard, but it’s something that I am a person still, not just my disability," Tucker said.

But Tucker said stretching the few dollars she gets in food stamps indefinitely could force her to rely on food banks. And the Impact Ministry Family Resource Center wants to do all it can to help.

"We never turn anybody away the first time for any reason. We serve you like we do everybody else," Danley said.

The center, located at 1710 W. Main St., is open three days a week -- Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Wednesday, 4–6 p.m.; and Thursday, 10 a.m.  to 1 p.m. An ID and utility bill is all you need to get started.

If you're able, the center can also really use donations. Here are some of the items needed most:

  • Canned food: (e.g. ravioli; chicken noodle soup; fruit; green beans; corn; pork and beans, etc.)
  • Spaghetti sauce in cans or plastic jars (no glass, please)
  • Jars of jelly and peanut butter (plastic jars, no glass please)
  • Boxed helper meals (e.g. hamburger/tuna helper)
  • Kid-friendly cereal
  • Mac and cheese
  • Tuna
  • Instant potatoes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Personal care items (e.g. toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.)
  • Diapers (especially sizes 4, 5, and 6)
  • Wipes
  • Children’s christian books
  • Bibles for all ages
  • Clothing of current styles (infant through 7)
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