SNAP program in danger if government shuts down


By Frank Lewis

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Some people may not be aware that in Scioto County there are 10,538 food assistance groups — which consists of approximately 13,367 adults and 7,183 children all benefiting from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If the government were to shut down next week, those people would suddenly be without food assistance.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said more than 1.7 million Ohioans are currently depending on food stamps through the SNAP program. In 2014, more than 60 percent of of those receiving benefits were children (44 percent), the elderly (nine percent), or Americans with disabilities (10 percent).

Brown said he will call on his Republican colleagues to pass a clean spending bill. Brown will be joined in his efforts by Ohio Association of Foodbanks Executive Director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt.

Brown said while the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was able to use remaining Recovery Act funds to continue SNAP benefits in 2013, there are no contingency funds to cover the cost of SNAP benefits if the government shuts down on Oct. 1, 2015. He said that could result in the loss or interruption of food assistance for nearly 45 million Americans. In 2014, 1.75 million Ohioans utilized SNAP to put food on the table.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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