USDA provides 30% of Feeding South Florida food supply, donations on hold during shutdown

Local pantries asking private donors to give more

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Minister Wayne Oxford is stocking up on food. He's worried by next week, his source - Feeding South Florida - might not have as much to give.

"Unless they stay viable, this community of South Florida is in trouble," says Oxford, who runs Food of Life Ministries.

The non-profit agency stocks shelves in food pantries from Jupiter to Key West, distributing to more than 100 agencies in Palm Beach County alone.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture supplies 30% of the food it distributes. Right now, the USDA isn't operating.

"We are in a panic mode about how we'll cover the gap should this continue," said Sari Vatske, with Feeding South Florida.

The USDA supplies most of the meats and proteins families rely on, and it's slowly running out.

"It's worrisome, we have product that's been sent to us, but with the shutdown we don't know how much more is coming in," said Vatske.

Vatske says other programs may have to suffer in the meantime. Food might have to be pulled from the backpacks for kids program and go into the general distribution.

"We'd literally have to rob Peter to pay Paul to make sure everyone got enough," said Vatske.

The non-profit is hoping private donations can help provide where the federal government has left off. But food pantry organizers don't know how long that can last.

If you are interested in donating, visit the Feeding South Florida website.

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