This foodbank is joining the effort to help federal workers affected by the shutdown

NORFOLK — As the partial government shutdown continues, focus is shifting toward gathering aid for the local federal workers affected by the loss of their paychecks, and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shoreis stepping up to the plate to help out.

Starting Jan. 24, the foodbank will be opening up two additional distribution days a week in addition to the usual Friday morning distribution from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., said Ruth Jones Nichols, the foodbank’s CEO.

The distributions will be at the foodbank’s Norfolk warehouse: 800 Tidewater Drive.

The two distribution dates will be: Mondays 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and Thursdays 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., starting Jan. 24.

The public cannot access the two additional distribution dates, only the Coast Guard, Air Traffic Control and TSA.

She said the local TSA Union under AFGE, Norfolk International Airport Authority and the Virginia Maritime Association all reached out to the foodbank asking for assistance during the shutdown.

Their main focus will be offering assistance to the TSA, Air Traffic Control and the Coast Guard, but the public is still welcome to pick up supplies they need, Jones Nichols said.

Jones Nichols said some of the main items the foodbank needs to provide are baby formula, diapers, feminine hygiene items, laundry detergent and the usual canned and shelf stable items the foodbank collects year-round.

If those individuals are unable to get to the distribution sites the foodbank will use their mobile food pantry to bring supplies to them if the need arises, she noted.

Other forms of help

In addition to using the foodbank’s resources, Jones Nichols wants to remind the public that families can apply at any point in the year for the free/reduced meal programs at schools and SNAP benefits.

She anticipates the foodbank will be able to keep up this level of assistance for the next four to six weeks but is unsure of what the plan will be in the long-term.

“We are confident in our community’s ability to help us,” she said.

Jones Nichols also said they are looking for volunteers to work the  extra distribution days.

Families who are seeking further assistance can look on the foodbank’s website and see what other services there are in the area, she said.

To find out more, click here.

To find the times of the new distribution days, keep an eye on their Facebook Page and Twitter for updates.

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