Government shutdown impacts Phoenix classrooms, food bank

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- As the federal government shutdown begins its second week, new effects are rippling through Arizona.

A large group of Phoenix-area fourth-graders had to cancel a planned two-day trip to national parks and monuments in the Flagstaff area.

"My teacher told us she had disappointing news, that all the national parks in Flagstaff are shut down and so we're not going to be able to go," lamented 9-year-old Lily Hoffman.

It's one of many trips being canceled to national parks and people whose jobs depend on those tourists are struggling.

"One of the first calls we got was from folks at the Canyon who need help," Jerry Brown of the St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance told 3TV.

The Food Bank put 600 emergency food boxes together Monday and plans to ship them to the Grand Canyon area Tuesday morning.

Brown said the food is for the 2,200 concessions and maintenance employees who are not being paid.

Each box contains oats, rice, peanut butter, juices and canned vegetables, and should last a family of four several days. They plan to send fruits and vegetables to the area later this week.

"Those folks live paycheck to paycheck. There's not much separating them from needing food assistance," Brown said.

The need comes at a time when St. Mary's is rebounding from a summer lull and trying to build up supplies for the holiday season. Brown said the organization is in desperate need of volunteers and donations, and has been stretched thin by the sudden domino effects of the government shutdown.