Soup kitchens could be swamped if food stamps dry up

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Food stamps are safe for now, but it might not stay that way for much longer. As the government shutdown drags on, some people worry about how they’ll eat in a couple of months.

The USDA is distributing February SNAP benefits early, however there is no guarantee for March. It may mean people have to start rationing their food stamps and relying on other community resources.

Groceries are something so many of us take for granted, but there are thousands of people across the Tri-State who realize now just how fragile their access to food is.

Dicky Galbreath at the Potter’s Wheel soup kitchen has been watching how the shut down has hit people everywhere.

“Eventually if it goes on much longer, it’s going to affect everybody here at my job, especially the people who come in off the street,” said Galbreath.

Donna Sandefur is eating lunch Tuesday at Potter’s Wheel. “I’m not going to get my benefits,” she said. Sandefur is already working on a plan to make her food stamps go farther.

“I’m going to have to go to food pantries,” she added. “That’s the reason why I’m eating here, to cut down and budget my food.”

Potter’s Wheel may get a lot busier in the coming weeks if food stamps dry up come March. Homeless resource groups say there’s few options for people if it comes to that.

Susan Steinkamp at Aurora says it may take an extra effort from the community to make ends meet.

“People are starting to hear about this and they’re starting to worry; just the idea that they may not be able to feed their families,” she said.

Local leaders say the city is always willing to help when times are tough, but they’re hopeful it doesn’t come to that.

Steinkamp says food pantries will be a good outlet at first but believes they will be “decimated” if the shutdown lasts for weeks more.

Typically, people receive food stamps in alphabetical order over 19 days every month. Now February’s stamps will be given out before January 20, and it’s all automatic.

The USDA says itis important to make them last.

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This story was originally published on January 15, 2019

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