Food pantry prepares for potential increase in demand

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The United States government promised to fund SNAP benefits through February, but if the partial government shutdown lasts longer, one non-profit is gearing up for the potential increase in demand for food assistance.

Feeding South Dakota employees say they provide food for about 190,000 people every year.

That number might increase if SNAP benefits run dry or if federal employees continue to work without pay.

The non-profit is working on a contingency plan to address the potential emergency need.

Feeding South Dakota distributes 1.2 million pounds of food a month.

CEO Matt Gassen says their goal is to double their food distribution if the shutdown goes past February.

"We'd want to go to about 2.4 to 2.5 million pounds a month to try to meet that demand," Gassen said. "The rest of that gap, we're going to try as we can to try to fill it. Even to double our distribution, it's going to take a lot of work on our end to procure more food from our nationwide resources but also looking to the public."

If the plan is needed, Gassen hopes to have it ready to execute by Jan. 25.

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