Update on the Partial Federal Government Shutdown

January 10, 2019 By: Marcus Schmit

I wanted to share a quick update on the ongoing partial federal government shutdown. As you know, there is increasing anxiety in the hunger relief community as we complete the third week of the shutdown with no agreement to reopen the government on the table. We are grateful for the work you’re doing on the frontlines to ensure those affected are accessing the healthy food needed to make ends meet right now.

There are approximately 32,000 federal government employees in Minnesota and roughly 5,500 Minnesotans who are currently impacted by the shutdown. Second Harvest Heartland sent the attached letter today urging Minnesota’s congressional delegation to encourage the White House and congressional leaders to end the shutdown immediately. We are concerned about the potential impact on federal nutrition assistance programs and Minnesota’s emergency food community as described below:

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced this week that contingency funding will ensure the distribution of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to all eligible Minnesotans through February. Like you, we are concerned about client confusion. People might wrongly assume that SNAP, WIC or other federal programs are not available during the shutdown; however, those benefits will continue to be available through February if no additional action is taken. It is important to note that USDA will likely distribute February SNAP benefits on or around January 20 due to their contingency status. Clients might be confused by this early distribution as well.

Food deliveries for TEFAP and CSFP will continue through March 2019. According to Feeding America, TEFAP orders confirmed before the shutdown began on December 22 will be delivered on schedule through March.

Funding for child nutrition programs including school breakfast and lunch, summer and afterschool meals is on track through March. These programs are all reimbursement-based, so there is a delay between serving meals and utilizing federal funds. In prior shutdowns, these programs could still operate; however, the furlough caused an administrative delay in processing the reimbursement.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 651.282.0870 or mschmit@2harvest.org with questions or concerns.

Marcus Schmit
Director of Advocacy

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