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North AL food bank thankful for continued SNAP funding

A food bank representative told WAAY 31 a lapse in SNAP funding would have put a strain on the food bank.

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 9:13 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019 11:05 PM

According to the most recent data on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, website, more than 850,000 Alabamians received SNAP benefits every month in 2016. That number helps give us an idea of how many people the decision to fund SNAP will impact, namely The Food Bank of North Alabama.

"That's good for the people we serve, and it's good for the food bank," Laura Fincher, agency/community relations manager of The Food Bank of North Alabama, said.

By using a continuing resolution, the United States Department of Agriculture found a way to fund SNAP.

States can now request their SNAP benefits be released early. According to the Department of Agriculture, they've let states do this before when they know a natural disaster is coming and evacuees need early access to their benefits. The office said its not aware of the method ever being used during a government shutdown, but they said the continuing resolution is what guarantees the government will release the money.

That means people will get their February benefits by January 20th, and the food bank won't find themselves in a pinch.

"That would have really put a strain on us trying to meet the demand of all the food needed," Fincher said.

Fincher said the food bank gives food to about 250 groups that in turn distribute food in their communities.

"Those groups could have seen the demand of the people they're feeding double, triple, or quadruple," Fincher said.

That's a tall order she's thankful they won't have to fill for now.

"It's definitely going to be a good thing for us in that we can continue to meet the demand we're meeting right now," Fincher said.

The status of SNAP funding in March is still up in the air. According to the USDA, the continuing resolution being used to fund February is a one time deal, so if the partial government shutdown lasts longer than that the government will have to find another way to keep SNAP funded.

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