TOLEDO (WTOL) - The government shutdown is making it hard for some families to put food on the table. One local pantry is doing what it can to help, despite their own uncertain future.
The Monroe County Opportunity Program (MCOP) is stepping up to help those in their community once again. This time, they are helping those impacted by the government shutdown.
“If we can provide this food to people who are not getting paid and that allows them to pay their mortgage for the month it’s well worth it,” said Stephanie Zorn-Kasprzak. Executive director of the MCOP. “So, we’re beginning to hear stories of people who are coming in and it really is making a difference for people in a positive way.”
They partnered with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan to give away 50 emergency food boxes.
The only qualifications; you have to be a Monroe County resident and have a federal I.D.
The Monroe County Opportunity Program received the boxes Monday morning and already had provided food for four families by the end of the day.
“These are folks we didn’t know and haven’t served before,” said Zorn-Kasprzak. “But these are TSA agents who work at Detroit Metro and live in Monroe County, border patrol, we have a national park here in Monroe so we’re able to help those folks.”
Families in need of assistance will get a box with items to last them several weeks through their hard times, but those hard times may actually be coming for the food pantries serving them.
“We are receiving funding through USDA and HUD, but not currently because of the shutdown,” explained Stephanie Zorn-Kasprzak, executive director of MCOP. “And so, even though we’re so grateful to be able to provide these food boxes to people in need there will be a point where it will become a great challenge for us.”
MCOP is doing everything they can to make the federal dollars they have left last as long as possible, but they fear what happens if the shutdown persists. Leaders are hoping their community will step up to volunteer and donate, so they can continue to help those who need it most.
For families impacted by the shutdown outside of Monroe County there is also help available. While they don’t have specific programs for families affected by the government shutdown you can call the united way at 2-1-1 or check out and join the “Help Feed Toledo Area” Facebook page where they can link you to a pantry.