Cynthia is no stranger to food banks. She’s volunteered as the director of her church’s food bank for the past two years. She’s seen the need, and she loves being there to help and support her neighbors during tough times.
But the government shutdown has brought a lot of uncertainty for Cynthia and her family, and now she finds herself seeking extra support until the shutdown ends. That’s why she stood in freezing temperatures on Tuesday morning, waiting for the Mobile Market to begin. It was the first time she’s ever stood in a food bank line.
“I believe this is a blessing at the right time. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Cynthia works in childcare for the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). She utilizes SNAP benefits each month to help buy food for her family of three—herself, her husband, and their six-year-old son. But those benefits have looked different in the new year. Because of the government shutdown, February’s SNAP benefits were issued early—at the end of January. Cynthia will have to plan her purchases carefully to stretch those benefits through February, and there’s no indication yet what the future holds if the shutdown continues.
Cynthia and another woman discussed what they would make with the pork roast being distributed at the Mobile Market as they waited in line. She loves to cook and makes meals around what she has in the house, but she tries not to make the same meal twice. “It gets kind of boring. You have to have some excitement in the kitchen.” She planned to look up what she could make with pork, potatoes, and onions—three of the items she got at the Mobile Market—when she got home.
Cynthia expects food banks to be more crowded because of the shutdown. She knows there’s many others in her situation. Cynthia doesn’t want to be standing in line for food, but the uncertainty of what the future holds doesn’t leave her much choice. “Things are a little scary right now. Something like this, it gives you hope.”