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News Release: As shutdown consequences widen, JFCS prepares


Iris Valanti
412.422-7200, x 3738
412-770-7200 (cell)

JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry mobilizing community help

Pittsburgh, PA (January 14, 2019) In the fourth week of the government shutdown, with no end in sight, Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) is concerned for families who are affected by furloughs and missed paychecks. And the longer the shutdown goes on, the wider the circle of those affected, adding people who rely on government programs which may be cut or suspended as time goes on.

“Many federal workers furloughed or working without pay live paycheck to paycheck and may not be able to cover the grocery bill,” says Matthew Bolton, Director of JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. “And then there’s recipients of federal program benefits like SNAP (Food Stamps), who may be affected by cuts or suspended benefits if the shutdown goes on much longer.”

The USDA has issued a statement saying that SNAP benefits for the month of February will be fully funded, but the February payment will be issued on January 18th rather than the first of the month. Recipients will need to understand that this will be the only February payment, and make the benefit last the whole month of February.

JFCS is mobilizing the community to help meet the emergency need before it becomes a crisis. Schools, congregations and other groups are asked to hold food drives and donate their collections to the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. The Food Pantry serves people living in the 15217 zip code and kosher clients from the Pittsburgh area.

People who are not able to collect food may make donations at the JFCS website (jfcspgh.org/fooddrive) to support purchasing extra food. The Pantry can make efficient use of the funds by buying in bulk and buying exactly what is needed.

“People might be surprised to know that the Pantry serves more than 1,200 local residents – families, seniors and children – every year,” says Bolton. “And now people who have been laid off and/or not paid through no fault of their own need our help. This generous community has always lent a hand to neighbors in trouble, and this is looking like one of those times.”

Donations may be made online at jfcspgh.org/fooddrive, or mailed to JFCS, 5743 Bartlett Street, Pgh, PA 15217, earmarked for the Food Pantry. Food drives (non-perishable items) may be dropped off at the Pantry (828 Hazelwood Avenue, Pgh 15217) during regular business hours. Visit the Food Pantry website (jfcspgh.org/services/squirrel-hill-food-pantry) for hours and more information.

About JFCS: Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS), was founded in 1937. Our mission is to help individuals and families through life’s changes and challenges. We do so by providing comprehensive, innovative social services and empowering people with the resources and supports they need to improve their lives and regain self-sufficiency and stability. www.jfcspgh.org