Local food bank partnerships impacted by government shutdown

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  People across the country are anxious about the possibility of the government shutdown affecting their food assistance benefits next month. The Food Bank of North Alabama said they are trying to increase their food supply in case the shutdown doesn't end soon.

"We have some groups that want to become agencies with our food bank. They want to either expand or start up new food programs," explained Shirley Schofield of the Food Bank of North Alabama.

But they can't partner with any new organizations until the government is up and running.

"We're not able to get the permission to do that because they have to go through the IRS to do that. And it's not available right now," said Schofield.

The food bank is also having difficulties making new additions to the staff.

"We have a couple of new employees we're trying to get e-verified, and we're not able to do that right now," Schofield added. "So it's having a smaller impact just on the way we operate because of those things."

E-verification is a process used to determine employment eligibility, and it's required by Alabama state law before a person can be hired.

The E-Verify website currently displays a message that reads:

Due to the lapse in federal funding, this website will not be actively managed. E- Verify and E-Verify services are unavailable.

We reached out to the IRS, State Department of Labor and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for clarification. Whether employees can legally be hired in Alabama amidst the shutdown remains unclear.

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