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Food Bank Leaders Concerned About Shutdown

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Those in our community who serve the hungry face new challenges every year.
These are families that are employed and normally able to handle life well that are, all of a sudden, impacted by having nothing.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Those in our community who serve the hungry face new challenges every year.

Right now food bank resources are being stretched because of the government shutdown.

Bennie Cook runs the food pantry for Texas County, the largest county in Missouri.

They feed approximately 520 families.

That number has gone up from last year, with new families seeking help all the time.

"We might have people who have never been on our program before come in. We've seen an increase in the past year, so I'm concerned about that, how much of an increase we might have," Cook said.

Besides tough economic times, the government shutdown is creating another challenge.

"The furloughs in place with the government employees that could be more of an issue," he said.

It's also a concern in nearby Pulaski County.

"The fort is our very close neighbor, so we are facing shutdown issues now people without income," leader of the Good Samaritan of the Ozarks Vicki Hurlbutt said.

She saw four new families come in for food just Wednesday afternoon.

"They were specifically because of shutdown," she said, "An entirely different group of people than what we would normally see or usually see."

It's been a tough year for Pulaski County.

Flooding in August increased the number of families seeking help by about 200.

"These are families that are employed and normally being able to handle life well, and are all of a sudden impacted by having nothing," she said.

Both Hurlbutt and Cook agree that the challenges are many.

But government shutdown or not, they will find a way to help.

"One way or another, if somebody comes in and needs food, we're going to feed them," Cook said.
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