What does the government shutdown mean for hunger relief here in Western Washington?
Because public assistance programs, like SNAP and WIC, are so pivotal to our local food safety net we are closely tracking how the federal shutdown will affect people and families here in Western Washington who rely on these programs. There are still many unknowns, but here is what we know so far.
- SNAP (aka Food Stamps) will continue operations and Washington state households who receive SNAP can expect their monthly benefits for October.
- WIC, the Women, Infants and Children program, is a discretionary, rather than mandatory, program under the USDA. Washington state administers the WIC program locally, with funding from the USDA. Any funding that is currently in state coffers to administer the program and deliver benefits will be available and can be used during the shutdown. Once those funds are gone, however, there will be no more funding until sequestration (i.e., the shutdown) is over or a separate continuing resolution is passed to start funding it once again.
- The Child Nutrition programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into October.
- The federal government provides food and funding to safely store and transport that food via programs such as the Commodity Assistance Programs (CAP) including the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). While no new funding will be able for these programs during the shutdown, existing food inventories can still be used. This means that Food Lifeline will continue to store and distribute TEFAP foods that we have in our warehouse and Washington state can spend money it currently has to administer these programs.
We receive regular and timely updates on how the federal government shut down and how it affects our food safety net here in Western Washington via our affiliation with Feeding America. We will continue to monitor this situation and share updates as we receive them.
If you, or someone you know, uses SNAP, WIC, or other public assistance program, here is the information you need on your food benefits.
For more information, you can visit the USDA website.
For media inquires, please contact Gina Clark, Director of Public Policy at Food Lifeline, by 206-545-6600 or email, with any questions. Or contact Hamilton McCulloh, Public Relations Director at GreenRubino by 206-957-4260 or email.