San Antonio Food Bank, pantries expect increased demand due to government shutdown

SA Food Bank CEO: Supply could be depleted overnight

SAN ANTONIO – Nearly 113,000 federal employees were working in the state of Texas in 2017, according to a federal website. Yet a federal spokeswoman said a breakdown of how many there are in Bexar County was unavailable because those who could provide the figure were furloughed.

“The swell that could come our way because of the shutdown and the number of federal workers in our community could deplete our supply overnight," said Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank.

As of Thursday morning, Cooper said the food bank has enough on its shelves to last two weeks, maybe less.

“Food moves pretty quickly because of the demand. As it comes in, it’s going out," Cooper said.

Located in Converse, near Randolph Air Force Base, the Greater Randolph Area Services Program, or GRASP, is one of the largest food pantries in the food bank’s network.

Jay Higginson Jr., GRASP president and CEO, said the longer the shutdown lasts, the more likely they’ll start seeing government families asking for help.

The families may be hesitant at first, Higginson said, but GRASP wants “to take the burden and the fear and the anxiety of what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week when the bills start rolling in.”

Cooper said at least the families won't have to worry about buying groceries.

Higginson said GRASP, as well as the San Antonio Food Bank, can help them navigate where they can get additional support services.

“We can give them comfort, and there’s other agencies in our community that (are) just so willing to open up their arms and their pocketbooks to help,” Higginson said. “We are honored to help, and it’s our mission to help.”

Both Higginson and Cooper urged the public to help, not only with donations of food and financial contributions, but by volunteering, as well.

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