The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri would like to share some updates on the effects of the partial government shutdown and our plans to continue providing food to our neighbors in need despite these new challenges.
Last week, USDA announced that despite the shutdown, critical federal nutrition programs would be funded through February. Specifically this means that recipients of SNAP benefits (Food Stamps), will receive their benefits through the end of February. It is important for recipients of February SNAP benefits to know that the state will be disbursing these funds earlier than expected, and that recipients will see these funds available on their EBT cards on or around January 20th. It is very important that individuals and families understand that receiving this assistance in advance is not “extra” assistance and that the early receipt of SNAP funds must last them through the month of February. There will be no SNAP benefits disbursed during the month of February. If the partial government shutdown continues, the SNAP benefits beyond the month of February are not guaranteed, and individuals and families should plan in accordance to this. We anticipate that this will likely lead to increased need, and more participants needing access to emergency food. We are working with our partner agencies to plan accordingly.
Secondly, because there are over 800,000 unpaid or furloughed federal employees in the US who may need food assistance during this shutdown, we expect that our partner agencies, particularly pantries that distribute food, can expect to see an uptick in new participants in the coming weeks. The Food Bank stands at the ready to meet this need and we know that through our collaborative efforts with our partner agencies and other food banks in our Feeding America network, we will ensure that new individuals and families will continue to have access to food during this difficult time.
Finally, the Food Bank wants program participants, partner agencies, and anti-hunger stakeholders to know that despite the potential challenges due to the shutdown, we know that our communities are strong and that together we can ensure safe access to sufficient food for all of our neighbors. We are prepared to adapt to the changing need and together we can meet this challenge.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, you can find resources by county here.
If you would like to help us share food and bring hope, you can find out more about volunteering and donating here.