PORTLAND, Ore. — The Snow Cap Food Pantry near 178th and Stark is one of 12 hundred food pantries in the state.
Since the shutdown started a month ago.
“We’ve been seeing a lot of new faces here at Snowcap," Kisten Wageman, executive director, Snowcap Food Pantry. "We've been seeing a lot of uncertainty. Questions about how to access food.”
Once a month, anyone can come and take advantage of this free food.
There's bread, canned food, fruit, vegetables and more.
"There's no stigma we're ready to embrace you and have you come to Snowcap," Wageman said.
The Oregon Food Bank supplies the food and says with the ongoing shutdown, the added customers are no problem.
“We would much rather people pay their rent or their mortgage and stay housed and come to us for food assistance,” Susannah Morgan, CEO Oregon Food Bank said.
The amount of food you'll be able to get isn't a huge amount. It's to supplement on top of what SNAP gives.
SNAP is a federal food assistance program, for now, funded through February.
“As long as SNAP is running, we can be there to help. If SNAP shuts down, we are in a whole new level of hurt,” Morgan said.
She said the scope and scale for the need will be staggering if SNAP benefits stop. And for those that receive SNAP, their February benefits came 2 weeks early.
“Those benefits aren't extra, they're early,” Annie Kirschner, executive director, Partners for Hunger-Free Oregon said. “So, the entire amount that they would have gotten in February to buy groceries all got loaded on EBT cards on Friday.
While March benefits aren't a guarantee, SNAP is yet another option out there for those going without a paycheck.
“The shutdown is actually going to increase the number of people who are probably going to have to turn to food banks or who are eligible now for SNAP,” Kieschner said. “So, we're really encouraging people, even if you've never had to ask for assistance to go ahead and apply for SNAP.”