By Kimberly Eiten

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Day 28 of the federal shutdown brought a spike in the number of Marylanders who need help feeding their families and community organizations are trying to help employees who are out of options.

It’s stack, wrap, and repeat inside the Maryland Food Bank, where business is unfortunately booming.

“Now this is becoming real for more people,” said Carmen Del Guercio president of the Maryland Food Bank. “They’re having to figure out what kind of trade-offs they need to make.”

On day 28 of the shutdown, Guercio said that the fears of federal employees are now a reality.

Families are calling the food bank, and more than 1,000 of its partners, for help.

“It’s something we haven’t planned for,” said Guercio. “So we are worried about our ability to buy more product to meet this need and we are hoping that we’ll have some food donors, partners who are willing to potentially step up and fill this gap and help us meet this need.”

The state’s tax collector reports that 172,000 Marylanders have taken some kind of financial hit.

At Baltimore’s Soul Harvest Church, Pastor Merrill Griffin said that he was getting calls from both furloughed and federal employees, who are still required to work during the shutdown but with no pay.

“She’s the lady that says, ‘listen, I’ve got to go to work, but I still need the food’,” said Griffin.

So his doors will stay open later than usual Friday night to accommodate a rush of federal workers who are out of money and out of options.

“It’s real,” said Griffin. “The effect is being felt in the community and around the state.”

The food bank says that unlike other emergency situations, the problem here is that there’s no telling what the timeframe is for the shutdown.

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