Thousands of Connecticut and New York residents rely on federal food assistance programs. But as the government shutdown continues, anti-hunger advocates are concerned that funds for these programs might run dry. That means many of the state’s most vulnerable residents could go hungry.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is one of the agencies closed because of the shutdown. It funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, the nation's largest food aid program. SNAP provides food stamps to more than 300,000 Connecticut residents and more than 900,000 Long Island residents.
In 2017 more than half of SNAP recipients in Connecticut were families with children, and almost 40 percent were families with members who are elderly or disabled.
Smaller USDA-funded programs support diets of low-income residents age 60 and older, or help stock millions of pounds of food in the state’s food banks and pantries.
The USDA says it has enough funds to operate these programs through January. But each day that passes with the government not fully operational is a day closer to the elimination of desperately needed food assistance.