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Low-income families, local schools risk losing food assistance amid partial government shutdown

Posted at 8:40 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 21:42:07-05

One of the organizations impacted by the partial government shutdown is the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.  If the shutdown continues, millions of Americans could lose their food stamps.

Numbers from 2017, show 1 in 7 Texans rely on food stamps. More than 79 percent are families with children, and about 28 percent are elderly or have disabilities.

“People that receive food stamps or SNAP, they automatically are eligible for emergency food from food banks,” says Coastal Bend Food Bank executive director Bea Hanson.

In preparation for the worse, the Coastal Bend Food Bank has a plan.

“We’re prepared to have enough mobile pantries where we can supplement our regular pantries,” says Hanson.

Executive director Bea Hanson says after generous holiday donations, they are well stocked. If additional resources are needed, they will request help from national manufacturers.

Another program in limbo is the Eligibility Provision Program at CCISD.

“Offer every student breakfast, lunch and in many schools, supper,” says Food Service director Jody Houston.

How the program works, is the district provides the meals first.

“It’s usually a month or two after we serve the meals, that we do get reimbursed,” says Houston.

Food Service director Jody Houston says the program is funded through March. If an agreement is not made by then, the district may not be paid.

“We’ll always keep the best interest of the students at heart,” says Houston.

Houston says the district is staying optimistic, waiting to hear from the USDA.