The partial government shutdown could put a halt to some of the government nutrition programs in Michigan, including for people in the Upper Peninsula.
State Budget Director John Nixon explains, “The biggest programs affected by the shutdown will be food stamps, the Women, Infants and Children feeding program (WIC), the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance program and the school lunch program.”
WIC is expected to be the first nutrition program to be effected by the shutdown. It provides nutritional benefits and education for around 200,000 Michigan women and children.
Food pantries across the U.P. say the need is higher than average this fall. The Salvation Army, AMCAB and the St. Vincent DePaul Society say they can use donations of non-perishable food items, toiletries and baby items. The agencies also say a monetary donation can be stretched by the food pantries through food banks across the state and region through which large quantities can be purchased at lower prices. The estimate is that for every $1 donated, a food pantry can extend that to about $5 worth of purchases through a food bank.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally known as food stamps, will issue nutrition benefits for the month of October, but is unclear how the program will be funded if the government shutdown continues.
“It is unfortunate that the public sector of the food safety net may take a big hit if this shutdown continues,” Kareemah El-Amin, Executive Director of The Food Bank Council of Michigan, says. “It is important that Michiganders understand that the Food Banks will stretch their dollars and do whatever is needed to meet the demand that may arise from any loss of our public partners”.
Program participants are urged to contact the agencies from whom the benefits are provided for additional information.