Millions could lose food assistance if government shutdown continues

Food stamps concerns rise as government shutdown continues

(CNN) – Millions of people are at risk of losing food assistance in the ongoing government shutdown.

Experts said funding is expected to run out next month for food stamps, school meals and nutrition for pregnant women and young children.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, said child nutrition programs including school breakfasts, lunches and after-school meals will continue into February.

It’s unclear what other steps will be taken to assist low-income families with groceries if the shutdown continues past when funding is available.

The USDA said the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the official name for food stamps, is funded through January, but it has only $3 billion in reserves to cover the costs for February. In comparison, the program cost $4.8 billion in September.

Nearly 38.6 million Americans depended on the program that month, according to the USDA’s latest data.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – a program that provides food assistance to more than 7 million low-income pregnant women, new mothers and young children – has federal funding to last only through January.

President Donald Trump plans to address the shutdown in an Oval Office message on Tuesday.

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