As we enter the 27th day of the government shutdown, we're starting to see major services that keep American families afloat run into problems.

SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, is a federal government run program, and leading up to this week some families were unsure how they would feed their families without the additional help. This week the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare eased their minds, announcing that February Food Stamps will be coming, but a little bit early.

Niki Forbing-Orr, Public Information Manager for Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said "All households that were approved and reevaluated by Tuesday January 15th will receive their February food stamps on January 20th... Households that will complete a reevaluation and are approved after January 15th for February will receive benefits on their regular issuance date... So basically we just want to reassure everyone that everyone who is eligible for benefits in February will receive their benefits..."

The problem then becomes the length of time between deliveries of benefits. January 20th until the next delivery date could be an upwards of 50 days.

Snap benefits are already designed to be supplemental. They aren't even supposed to last 30 days, and the end of February may see some problems.

Forbing-Orr also said "For folks who can afford it we would ask that they consider a donation to their local food pantries and food banks because those food pantries and food banks will probably feel the pressure from people who are running out of food toward the end of February..."

The Idaho Food Bank is expecting to see more people coming to them, but SNAP benefits works on a scale that is 12 to 18 times greater than their normal food load.

This leads to a situation that employees at the Idaho Food Bank have never seen.

Karen Vauk, President and CEO for the Idaho Food Bank, said "especially in trying to get in front of it... As much as we can and anticipating... We see the period of time where we are going to have more families struggling... So we'll start to prepare and plan now... For how can we build up the reserves and have some additional support available... Even if we know we're going to be short... We're going to do all we can..."

The food bank is also helping out families of federal employees that haven't received paychecks this month.

Both organizations say it's a very fluid situation, and we won't know all the effects until they happen.


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