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Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – also known as food stamps – will extend through the end of the month, despite the recent government shutdown on Oct 1.
“Misinformation continues to circulate regarding the October 1 government closure’s impact on federally-funded hunger programs, which has in turn created customer concern and thus operational challenges for the food retail industry,” said Jennifer Hatcher, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) SVP of government and public affairs, in a statement designed to clarify the shutdown’s effect on hunger program funding.
“Food retailers always experience heavy volume at the first of the month when benefits are loaded onto EBT cards, so our message to SNAP customers is that they can utilize their benefits throughout the month, and there is no need to redeem all of their benefits now,” Hatcher continued.
Hatcher noted that unlike the SNAP program, the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program, which supports nutritionally at-risk moms and children, relies on annual federal appropriations, and that many states will have leftover funds available for WIC benefits or have repurposed funds that were intended for other areas.
“USDA sent additional funds yesterday to those states that were facing immediate WIC funding challenges,” she concluded. “At this time, every state is accepting WIC vouchers in order to keep feeding those vulnerable moms and children, and again, there is no need for moms to rush to a store to try to redeem all of their allotments on their WIC checks.”
FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion.