Central Coast families who rely on SNAP, known as CalFresh in California, may see drastic changes if the government shutdown continues.
The Department of Agriculture has said it has enough funds to keep the food stamp program going for now, but should that money run out before the government is up and running again, thousands of families on the Central Coast could lose their food source.
“I definitely understand there’s a lot of concern and anxiety for your families right now because this is their primary source of food and being able to take care of themselves,” said Linda Belch, division manager for San Luis Obispo County Social Services.
Across the nation, 45 million people rely on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Eight million people rely on WIC, a nutrition program available to pregnant women and babies.
Thousands of local households are still receiving help for now. Should the government shutdown stretch into February, experts say that funding will likely run out.
“We want to reassure everybody that should the situation change and we’re not able to issue benefits as anticipated, we would get the information out right away and work to mitigate the impact as much as possible,” Belch said.
The Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County can help.
“People that qualify for that get a regular monthly stipend and we are in a supplemental role with folks that are receiving CalFresh,” said CEO Kevin Drabinski.
“Find a list of our recurring monthly distribution for food. They’re happening on every corner of the county and that should be a comfort to people to know that resource is available to them all throughout the week, all throughout the month,” he added.