ARLINGTON, Va. — Food Marketing Institute on Thursday urged recipients of government food assistance not to use up their monthly allotment all at once just because of the government shutdown.
Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — known as SNAP, or food stamps — will extend through October despite the suspension of some government services, FMI pointed out.
The association, based here, said it issued the statement on the SNAP program because of “misinformation” about the impact the government shutdown would have.
The misinformation “has created customer concern and thus operation challenges for the food retail industry,” said Jennifer Hatcher, senior vice president, government and public affairs, FMI. “While we certainly want the shutdown to end quickly, funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program extends through October, so SNAP customer benefits will be available,” she said. “Food retailers always experience heavy volume at the 1st of the month when benefits are loaded onto EBT cards, so our message to SNAP customers is that they can utilize their benefits throughout the month, and there is no need to redeem all of their benefits now.”
Read more: House Passes Bill With $40B in SNAP Cuts
In contrast to SNAP, however, the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program, which supports nutritionally at-risk mothers and children, relies on annual federal appropriations, Hatcher pointed out. She said many states still have leftover funds available for WIC benefits or have repurposed other available funds.
“USDA sent additional funds yesterday to those states that were facing immediate WIC funding challenges,” she said. “At this time, every state is accepting WIC vouchers in order to keep feeding those vulnerable moms and children, and again, there is no need for moms to rush to a store to try to redeem all of their allotments on their WIC checks.”
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