Government shutdown will put extra strain on Vermonters facing hunger
January 22nd, 2018, Barre, VT –At 12:01 am on Saturday, January 20th, the federal government shut down after Congress and the Administration were unable to strike a funding deal. One result of the shutdown will be an increase in demand on the charitable food system from those unable to access government services or whose jobs are impacted by the shutdown.
Some key federal nutrition programs that will be impacted include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), Child Nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Programs, Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
Currently, USDA has sufficient resources to fund SNAP benefits through February. If the government continues to be shut down, SNAP benefits are unlikely to be available without further appropriation.
Child Nutrition and WIC programs also have sufficient funds to operate through February. This will affect school meals, summer and afterschool programs.
Food already ordered for TEFAP and CSFP, both programs administered statewide by the Vermont Foodbank, should still be delivered on time. However, all additional orders will be on hold as staff involved will be on furlough.
During this uncertain time food banks and food shelves here in Vermont and across the country are bracing for the increased demand on their services.
“The Vermont Foodbank and our partner food shelves and meal sites are working hard to be here for our neighbors when and where they need it most,” says Vermont Foodbank CEO, John Sayles. “But our network does not have the resources to replace the federal nutrition programs that our neighbors rely on every day. We will be doing all that we possibly can to meet the need while hoping that Congress can come to an agreement and re-open the government as soon as possible.”