In the western suburbs, food insecurity is skyrocketing.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the last year,” said Sarah Corbin, the head of communications for the West Suburban Community Pantry. “We served 1 million more pounds of food last year than the year before.”

The West Suburban Community Pantry in Woodridge is seeing hundreds of new guests, and many of them are new to the country. “About half speak a language other than English,” Corbin added.The language barrier is not an uncommon issue for food pantries in the suburbs.

In West Chicago, at the Neighborhood Pantry, a large number of guests are migrants, refugees and immigrants. Executive Director Kate Monteleone said the need is up by 100 percent. We are just increasing in all measures, we’re doubling,” Monteleone said. Neighborhood Pantries has six locations in the suburbs and is also feeling the pressure to provide.“Two hundred people every Monday when our pantry opens, we will have people lining up at 6 a.m. to be served at the pantry that doesn’t open until 10,” she explained.

The fear now is for the near future, and seeing the demand rise even further. Especially if the government shuts down.

“When we look at the fourth quarter, that’s our busiest time of year,” Corbin said. “With a government shutdown, UAW strikes, we are worried about the amount of people we can serve.”

A government shutdown appeared all but inevitable Thursday. Congress is at an impasse just days before a disruptive federal shutdown that would halt paychecks for many of the federal government’s roughly 2 million employees, as well as 2 million active-duty military troops and reservists, furlough many of those workers and curtail government services.

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