October 14, 2013
Reporter: Laurie Perez
Source: FOX CT
More than 400,000 people in Connecticut use food stamps every month to help feed themselves and their families.
The way the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is funded, there’s enough money to give out benefits through the end of the month. But after that, a whole lot of people could be in a whole lot of trouble.
As executive director of the non-profit End Hunger CT, Lucy Nolan wanted to be sure we knew about her 72-year-old client, a widow who uses food stamps to fill the gaps in her limited budget; and the 43-year-old survivor of domestic violence who used SNAP to help feed her kids until she could get a job; and Juan, a single father of two who works at a grocery store in Hartford and spends 90 percent of his monthly income on rent and utilities alone.
Said Nolan: “When we talk about people using SNAP, we’re talking about very low income people who don’t have a lot of money.”
And don’t have a lot of options.
Nolan says if the government is shuttered past the end of the month, there is no guarantee that benefits can continue.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.
Connecticut gets about $700 million every year from the federal government for food stamps. It would be difficult, to say the least, for the state to come up with that cash itself, and though local food banks can help …
“While food pantries are working really hard and raising money to get more food, they’re never going to be able to take care of all the people that need the food,” Nolan said. “We’re just going to keep our fingers crossed and hope people in Washington get their act together.”
The food stamp program isn’t the only nutrition program at risk the longer the shutdown goes on.
WIC — for Women, Infants and Children — is already running on reserve funds. Help from state governments can only last so long.
The good news is some services such as free school lunch and breakfast have enough to keep running for several months.