The longest U.S. partial government shutdown is about to hit the 30-day mark with no end in sight. We are on the brink of a national emergency if the White House and lawmakers continue failing to negotiate over funding for Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico.
With furloughed federal employees still working without pay and struggling to decide whether to pay their next bill or allocate money for groceries, food pantries across the country are seeing an unfortunate spike in business during this crisis.
CNN anchor Victor Blackwell shifted gears during Saturday's "New Day" broadcast and asked viewers to help their local food banks.
CNN anchor makes desperate plea amid shutdown www.youtube.com
"It's the end of the first full week after more than 800,000 federal workers and an estimated two million federal contractors were not paid," Blackwell said.
"The stories are becoming more desperate."
"People are pawning their wedding rings to pay rent, deciding between buying medicine and paying the power bill, selling their Christmas presents to make ends meet, to buy food."
The news anchor emphasized that the food crisis is affecting working people. And although he admitted being grateful for always receiving paychecks, unlike the furloughed employees, he could relate to the struggles of those earning low wages.
"I know what it feels like to open the refrigerator and there's nothing but condiments and ice, to hope that it's someone's birthday at work the next day and there's a potluck so you can have lunch tomorrow."
"No working person, especially not people who work for us, who work for the American people, should have to struggle the way that federal workers are right now."
Blackwell then announced he was about to do something he's never done before. He inspired viewers to help "feed each other."
"I don't want to sound self-righteous. This show is not a telethon. We will continue to challenge the policies and the politics and all that's happening in Washington, but at the same time I know that we can feed each other."
"People shouldn't have to question where their next meal is from. We could feed each other."
Blackwell disclosed he will be donating to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and asked people to support their local community food banks as well. He provided the hashtag: #shutdownhunger for people to help spread the message on their various social media accounts.
"Again, we can feed each other while they fight in Washington."
People have started responding to the call because starving is not an option.
Blackwell was venerated for going off script to help those we are indebted to.
The outpouring of concern and support proves there is still a lot of good in this world. A sense of humanity is being restored with generous donations being made from all walks of life.
Kyle Waide, the CEO for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, was a guest on the show prior to Blackwell making his plea at the end of the segment. Waide said he spoke to a gentleman who once worked as a volunteer for a food bank and found himself on the other side of the table and expressed how humbling, and frustrated he was over the situation.
The CEO described the current crisis as being in uncharted territory and that his team is preparing "as though it's a natural disaster."
We can all help each other during this crisis. Find out where your local food banks are so you can help by visiting the Feeding America website.