Federal government shutdown affects Star City

Local News

The partial federal government shutdown approaches two weeks, leaving some employees unaffected and others out of work.

“So, it could be devastating,” said Feeding America Southwest Virginia CEO Pamela Irvine.

Irvine’s organization feeds about 118,000 people per month.

She says that more than a fifth of the organization’s food supply comes through the U.S.D.A., whose long-term funding is currently uncertain.

“And without this, we can’t feed the people in southwest Virginia who are struggling to put food on their table,” she said.

Irvine says there is already a gap between the number of food-insecure people in southwest Virginia and the number the group is able to serve, a problem that could worsen if S.N.A.P. benefits, for example, aren’t funded.
She adds that needy seniors and children could be among the hardest hit, and that the government’s apparent instability could make donors anxious to give; bad news for an organization looks to them for about three million dollars per year.

“So the bottom line is this is lifeblood for us,” she said.

Some federal government services are hit harder than others. The Roanoke I.R.S. Office literally has its doors locked, and when you give them a call, you’ll get this answer: “Due to the current budget situation, all I.R.S. offices are closed. We will resume normal operations as soon as possible…please call to reschedule once the government re-opens.”

“I cannot remember a one affecting the V.A.,” said Salem V.A. Public Affairs Officer Brett Robbins.

Robbins says that, not only does the shutdown not affect his organization, but he can’t remember one that did.

He says it was no surprise to see the organization carry on as usual.

“No, it wasn’t. Because we already knew that we were funded through FY19, all of our employees are reporting to work as normal. And veterans are coming here to receive their health care,” he said.

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