Food stamp funding could run out if government shutdown continues into February

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - From monuments to breweries, effects of the partial government shutdown are being felt right here in Northwest Ohio. As the stalemate in Washington D.C. drags on the sting could soon be felt by more people, including those who rely on food stamps.

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"I will be sad and mad," said a woman who uses assistance, but didn't want to be identified. "I mean, I have a family to feed."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs the country's food assistance program known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. At this point in the shutdown it's only being funded through January.

"It will be a big struggle and, you know, a big change as far as feeding my babies and, you know, a lot of let downs," said the woman.

According to state data, more than 80,000 people rely on SNAP in Lucas County alone and each person gets paid roughly $340.00 per-quarter.

Interim director of Lucas County Jobs and Family Services told 13abc they’ve yet to receive communication from the state on how to handle SNAP benefits if the government shutdown continues into February.

Ohio Jobs and Family Services sent 13abc a letter from the USDA that states, "SNAP will continue operations and eligible households will receive monthly benefits for January." There weren't details in the letter, however, about February. A spokesperson told reporter Michael Bratton that they couldn't answer follow-up questions about the situation "without further guidance from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service."

In the meantime, area food pantries are bracing for higher numbers.

"They're scared," said Barb Newburt who runs the "Help Feed Toledo Area" Facebook page. "People are scared they won't have funding for their food stamps."

Newbury says her pantry already serves 150 families a week at three locations across the Toledo area. She expects more will turn to her pantry for help if food stamp funding runs out.

"You only can stretch [money] so far, especially if you can't have a job, you're on disability, various reasons," said Newbury.

Despite being strapped for donations, Newbury says her pantry will do what it can to help those who need it.

Click here if you're interested in getting help from, or donating to, the Help Feed Toledo Area Facebook page.

"We'll work a little harder," said Newbury. "We'll get it. We always do."

If you have questions regarding food stamp assistance going forward you should reach out to your local jobs and family services office.