TYLER, TX (KLTV) - If the government shutdown continues, millions of low-income families who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, could have a harder time buying food; that includes, people in East Texas.
“The SNAP program is funded and running it’s funded through January, there’s about $3 billion worth of reserves left," East Texas Food Bank CEO Dennis Cullinane said.
But this could change. A big question surrounding the shutdown concerns the country’s food stamp program known. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture over 38 million Americans depend on food stamps.
“If the worst case happens and the funding runs out all I know right now is that we’re going to have a tremendous amount of pressure put on our pantries," he said.
Leaving local food banks to pick up the pieces and Cullinane said they are ready.
“We’re really about impact and we’re ready to respond to it best we can like," he said. "There’s a tremendous amount of meals that are moved through the SNAP program and you really can’t fill all the gaps with pantries and food banks but we’re going to give it our best shot.”
The East Texas Food Bank feeds hundreds of thousands of people each year with the help of various organizations.
“The food stream with the East Texas Food Bank comes from a myriad of food streams," he said. "We get food from USDA which is shut down.”
The food bank is still stocked with plenty of food, but even if the shutdown ends soon the organization will be affected.
“You won’t see the USDA foods affected immediately, but once the government shutdown is resolved, there’s going to be a lag period," he said.