Shutdown could impact South Plains Food Bank

SPFB prepares for possible interruption to food stamp program

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Because of the government shutdown, some local organizations are having to prepare for what lies ahead if they lose funding.

One organization that is dealing with the consequences of the shutdown is the South Plains Food Bank.

David Weaver, CEO of the South Plains Food Bank, said the government shutdown is not having an impact on the food bank at the moment, but if it continues, it will have a tremendous impact on the families they serve.

The South Plains Food Bank serves 58,000 people a year, providing close to 9 million meals for the food insecure in the region.

“We’re trying to be conservative in how we make our food boxes and make sure that food is going to last,” Weaver said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says if the shutdown continues, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps, will only remain funded through February.

“My hope is that the shutdown won’t last that long, that it will be resolved in the next few days. But, we’ve actually been asked, if we lose access to that food, how long can we continue to operate,” Weaver said.

40 million people across America utilize the SNAP program, including 35 thousand in the South Plains.

About 50 percent of people who utilize SNAP are children and 10 percent are seniors.

Weaver said if people lose benefits at the end of February, they will probably come to the South Plains Food Bank to see if they can help them make up some of the difference.

The South Plains Food Bank has food reserves that can last a few more months if the shutdown continues. But Weaver said after that, it’s uncharted territory.

“We’ve been letting clients that have come by to apply for the snap program know that there’s a possibility that they may be approved for it, but we may not have funds available to them,” Weaver said.

The South Plains Food Bank has a goal to provide ten million meals this year. While the shutdown may effect that, Weaver said they will continue to serve the community to the best of their ability.

“It’s something to be concerned about, to be aware of,” Weaver said.” But, I feel very fortunate that in Lubbock and across the South Plains, in times of disaster or hard financial times, our community has always come together, and we’ve been able to rally the resources we need to take care of one another.”

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