BOISE, ID — As a partial government shutdown enters its second week with no clear end in sight, tensions are high for many, including the nearly 150,000 Idahoans who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- otherwise known as "SNAP" or "food stamps."
"In some cases, they're elderly or disabled-- they're not able to work, and they need that food assistance always," said Karen Vauk, President and CEO, Idaho Foodbank.
A recent statement by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture said eligible households will still receive monthly SNAP benefits for January. But if the government is still shut down on February 1-- what happens then?
Vauk says the prospect of no SNAP program for Idahoans is dire.
"To have that removed doesn't affect just a few people-- it affects thousands of people and in a significant way."
And while the Foodbank generally provides extra-supplemental assistance for snap participants, she says, "We cannot fill the whole gap. We'd have to increase our program 12x in order to get to the level and volume of support that's provided to SNAP."
And while we're on the topic of food insecurity, Vauk has a message for the nearly 15,000 federal employees in Idaho who may be scrutinizing their budgets.
"On our website-- which is idahofoodbank.org -- you can go to the '"get food" button and you'll find a list of all of the locations-- statewide, by zipcode-- where you can find a food pantry or a source where you'll be able to get the food that you need."