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January 16, 2019
Food Insecure Households at Risk If Shutdown Persists

Project Bread is very concerned about the potential of a prolonged shutdown of the federal government.

See below for additional resources and see how to take action

Project Bread urges Congress and the President to reopen the government and ensure SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) is funded. Sufficient funds from the United States Department of Agriculture for SNAP are only secured through February. We have grave concerns about what may happen both short and long term to the 770,000 individuals in Massachusetts who rely on the program to access adequate food resources. Funding for these critical programs should not become collateral damage of a Presidential stand-off.

We know that people go without adequate food when their budget is too tight to make ends meet. For the 1 in 9 Massachusetts residents enrolled in SNAP, this shutdown means wondering if they will be able to pay all their bills in February and still put food on the table in March. 

Lawmakers have the responsibility to provide certainty to these households by funding the federal government. Project Bread strongly encourages Governor Charlie Baker to leverage his influence as a member of the Republican Governors Association to encourage Republican Senators to end the shutdown for the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of residents. Governor Baker has demonstrated his successful ability to work across party lines to prevent the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. We ask Governor Baker to again raise his voice for reason. We trust his ability to make clear for US Senators the impact that a lack of funding for SNAP will have on have on low-income Americans and remind them that states are not capable of footing the bill for SNAP. 

When food insecurity arises—whether due to personal, natural, economic or political crisis—Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline is a resource for all Massachusetts residents, regardless of federal funding. We continue to respond to those who don’t have enough to eat, including the many households directly impacted by the shutdown. Household’s like Ellie’s:

A TSA agent at Logan Airport and a single mother of three from Boston, Ellie hasn’t received a paycheck and is worried about falling behind on her rent as well as daycare payments. She has to stay current or risk losing her kids’ spots. She shared her concerns with a Project Bread Hotline counselor earlier this week: "I don’t know how I’m going to make this work. If I don’t get paid, how can I afford to send my children to daycare?" Without a paycheck, Ellie's savings have been drained – with only $400 remaining, she won’t be able to cover her expenses next month. Her rent alone is $1,500. Project Bread screened Ellie for SNAP and assisted her in applying online. If SNAP funding is depleted before the shutdown ends, Ellie won’t even have the ease of knowing her children will be fed. This is not acceptable.

Project Bread will continue to monitor the shutdown and work with partner anti-hunger organizations, legislators and community resources, serving those who struggle without enough to eat. Project Bread helps individuals access and afford food through SNAP and other community food resources. If you live in Massachusetts and need help, please call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline and speak to a dedicated counselor today: 1-800-645-8333. You can also help by sharing this resources with your community. 

 

Take Action:

1. Call Governor Baker and tell him to urge President Trump and his colleagues in the U.S. Senate to reopen the federal government

2. Share Ellie’s story on Facebook and Twitter

3. Join Project Bread's Action Team

Additional Resources:

Project Bread’s GettingSNAP.org and FoodSource Hotline 1-800-645-8333

Project Bread’s letter to Governor Charlie Baker

Joint Statement from Massachusetts anti-hunger organizations on the government shutdown 

Department of Transitional Assistance information on February SNAP benefits

Filed under: Informing Public Policy, Get Involved, For the Media, Ways to Give