From Flowers For Gravesites To Food Banks, Government Shutdown Affecting North Texas | KERA News

From Flowers For Gravesites To Food Banks, Government Shutdown Affecting North Texas

Oct 8, 2013

The government shutdown has entered its second week -- and across North Texas, it's affecting a variety of groups.

The shutdown has stymied a new local group that places flowers on veterans’ gravesites. Remember Heroes started its service on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. Remember Heroes needs access to a government site that contains grave data. But that site has been shut down due to the shutdown. And without that site, it makes it difficult for this new group to find gravesites.

The group wants to place flowers at nine national cemeteries, including Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery. The group was founded by Mike Merit, a veteran who lives in North Texas.

“It’s unbelievably frustrating,” Remember Heroes spokesman Blair Hancock said. “We come to work every day and we’re raising awareness and encouraging people to honor veterans. We’d love to honor veterans but we can’t until the government ultimately re-establishes these websites.”

The group has been able to place some flowers at some local gravesites since it has some grave data. But Remember Heroes is also worried that an extended shutdown would limit access to cemeteries – burials, however, will continue at national cemeteries.

Elsewhere, the North Texas Food Bank is feeling the pressure. Thirty-six trucks filled with USDA food are on hold due to the shutdown. That equals 1.2 million meals, said Jan Pruitt, the food bank's director.

Items currently at the food bank will cover meals for the nxt 10 days. But Pruitt is worried about November -- a busy time for the food bank. A reduction in federal food stamp benefits could send more clients to food pantries.

Read more from KERA about how the shutdown is affecting Dallas-Fort Worth and the rest of Texas.