Montgomery Co. charities face surging demand amid shutdown

Federal employees and contractors who aren't getting paid because of the shutdown are lining up for free, hot, gourmet meals from the charity founded by Chef Andres. (WTOP/Kristi King)
WASHINGTON — Charities are describing spiraling demand for their services amid the partial federal shutdown.

Montgomery County’s Manna Food Center has received requests for food from nearly 90 families, representing 275 people, claiming to be affected by the shutdown, according to Jenna Umbriac, the director of programs. That’s nearly double their usual number of requests over this time period, she said.

Silver Spring-based A Wider Circle has been raising money to buy grocery store gift cards for affected families. It has received 120 requests for assistance, “with more requests coming in each day,” said the group’s chief of staff, Beth Makal.

While the overwhelming majority of the requests are from federal employees, “We’ve also heard from contractors, a few folks worried about losing benefits, and even an Uber driver who has lost business,” Makal said.

Umbriac and Makal spoke to a Montgomery County Council committee looking into the impact of the partial federal shutdown.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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