Two days into the government shutdown and already, several non-profit
agencies are seeing the pain furloughs can inflict on families. The
calls are coming in from people worried about how they'll feed their
families and pay their bills. Several agencies are scrambling to find
enough funds and food in preparation for the higher demand.
With so many requests for utility assistance, Jill Cartledge fears she may have to turn people away.
already had phone calls from people who've been affected by the
furlough or are concerned about paying their power bill, and just
questioning how to go about getting help from us," said Jill Cartledge,
Back Bay Mission Emergency Assistance Case Worker. "We try to serve the
many that we can with the amount of money we have and sometimes we have
to say 'no.'"
So far, the biggest need at Back Bay Mission in
Biloxi is for food. What you may find surprising is most of the food on
the shelves actually came from Keesler Air Force Base. Just last month,
Keesler donated three tons of food to Back Bay Mission. The food was
collected from people who live and work on base. Now, some of the people
from the base are coming in to the food pantry for help.
two people in here this morning in fact, who came in for food who are
by-products of that furlough, who actually contributed some of this
food," said Cartledge.
With furloughs at Keesler, the Seabee
Base, and Stennis, the Salvation Army is also bracing for what's
expected to be a significant increase in the number of people coming to
its food pantry. So on Wednesday, the organization bought extra supplies
at the Twelve Baskets Food Bank in Gulfport.
tripling up on our supplies at the food pantry. We expect that many
families are going to need help and we're going to be there to help
them," said Laura Bianco, Salvation Army Public Relations Director.
non-profit agencies say it will be a challenge, but with grants and
donations from the community, they believe they can meet the higher
"They'll come to us and we always want to make sure
we're there for them," said Bianco. "When something like this happens,
we all get the jitters. We're worried what's going to happen next,
because no one knows. So we've learned to be prepared."
always been blessed that way. We've always had people come through for
us at a time when we needed it the most," said Cartledge.
non-profit agencies say the furloughs are hitting at a time when
families are saving for the holiday season. They say if the government
shutdown drags on, they expect to see more people signing up for meals,
the Angel Tree Program, and Christmas baskets.
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It was a short and simple ceremony on the Biloxi Town Green Friday morning to mark the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. High school students solemnly read the names of those killed by the storm.More >>
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