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      Shutdown creates need at local pantries

      Food pantries throughout northern Michigan are in need of donations after noticing an increase in need due to the government shutdown.

      The government may finally be open, but during the last two weeks some families have been struggling and now have to make up for lost pay and benefits.

      One of the pantries that saw a large increase in traffic was the Manna Food Project in Harbor Springs.

      "We had about 50 extra families that were worried about what was going to happen," Ruth Milks, Manna Food Project Pantry Manager said.

      Many were unsure which of their benefits would be cut and some federal workers had to make due while they were furloughed from their jobs.

      "I think people were afraid they're going to lose their benefits and the first thing you think of is how are you going to feed your children," Milks said.

      Another major concern that is driving traffic to area pantries is reaction by employers to the Affordable Care Act.

      "The clients have come in and said their hours are being cut from full-time to part-time because their employers want to avoid having to pay insurance," Mary Moellering, Brother Dan's Pantry Director said.

      Now these families are relying on pantries for support, which means these organizations now need help.

      "We're going to need more donations and need more planning and just work a little bit harder everybody needs to be able to eat," Milks said.

      Local pantries say despite the shutdown, the organization Feeding America has still been able to deliver their usual shipments.