TOLEDO (WTOL) - The shock waves being caused by the government shutdown are being felt by more and more people.
Millions nationwide may soon be left without a way to pay for their meals.
If the shutdown continues, funding is expected to run out next month for food stamps and nutrition for pregnant women and young children.
School meals are expected to continue for at least the next month, but for some children, that could be their only meal of the day.
“SNAP is actually one of the largest anti-hunger programs in the nation. Here in Ohio alone, 1.4 million Ohioans depend on SNAP services, so they look to SNAP to receive that healthy food. If something like SNAP was taken away, that would be detrimental to our community,” Lucas Stall, manager of digital marketing and public relations for the United Way of Toledo said.
Many local food pantries rely solely on donations to supplement folks beyond what the government provides.
If those basic benefits go away, the need will increase dramatically.
Barb Newbury runs a series of food pantries in the Toledo Area called Help Feed Toledo Area.
“Once the food stamps are cut off, where is the food going to be coming from? Are they going to come to all the pantries that are available? I don’t know. Everyone is a little nervous right now, and as far as the pantry, we’re nervous too about getting the food on demand,” she said.
According to the USDA, 35 to 40 million Americans have been depending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP in recent months.
On top of that, more than 7 million low-income pregnant women, new mothers and young children depending on the funding for their essentials, may see the well run dry at the end of this month.
Job and Family Services manages the benefits on both the local and state levels and have been inundated with concerns over various different programs the shutdown is impacting.
The United Way promises to fight for those benefits if push comes to shove, but by then the damage may be done.
"If there is a need in our community that requires greater advocacy around SNAP, we will certainly step up to the plate and be that institution that helps lead that fight,”said Stall.
Thirty-six percent of those in Lucas, Ottawa and Wood counties rely on government assistance just to meet their basic needs. These folks are classified by the United Way as being in poverty or asset limited, meaning that they don’t bring enough income home to pay for their basic needs; that includes food, shelter, utilities and insurance.
“There’s no doubt about it, when the time arises, we’ll have to get more donations,” said Newbury.
To donate to Help Feed Toledo Area, visit their Facebook group.