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Tampa Bay Area food bank running dangerously low on canned goods

Posted at 4:21 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 18:22:39-05

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS, Fla. — President Donald Trump announced a deal to re-open the Government for three weeks which would allow federal workers to get back pay quickly. Friday marked the second missed paycheck for a lot of those employees.

Cook’s Hat Food Pantry in Seminole Heights has seen an increase in demand during the shutdown and has had a hard time stocking its shelves.

A deal has been reached to reopen the government through Feb. 15, Trump says

Some local food pantries could run out of food if shutdown lasts too long

“Normally we have canned goods that are stacked up this high and this high on both of these walls,” said Jeff Holley, the Executive Director for Mission Tampa.

Holley says they’ve seen about a 25 percent increase in families needing help which has dwindled down their supply.

"The canned goods we have here now possibly could let us be open for another week,” he said. “A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck and a lot of people are struggling at this point and, certainly, to go two months without a paycheck has got to be devastating to some families."

The secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross, said Thursday he "can’t quite understand” why furloughed workers are going to food banks. He suggested they take out a “bridge loan” to hold them over.

Big banks like Wells Fargo and Regions told ABC Action News they don’t offer those types of loans, but are helping furloughed government workers in other ways.

Achieva Credit Union says they do offer short term personal loans, but interest rates are 7 to 8 percent, and getting one depends on how severe your debt is.

"I’ve been here for over 4 years now, and we’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Holley, about the lack of canned foods on the shelves.

He says they get some of their food from organizations like Feeding Tampa Bay.

Wells Fargo announced Friday they are giving a $50,000 grant to Feeding Florida, the parent group of Feeding Tampa Bay, to help with the need.

Holley says they are in need of canned vegetables and fruits. You can drop off canned goods at the Seminole Heights Baptist Church, Mon-Thur 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wed nights 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to noon.