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State offices and charities adjust to help hungry people affected by shutdown

SALT LAKE CITY – The federal government shutdown has some state offices adjusting how they give out benefits to hungry people.  Plus, some charity organizations are getting ready to feed people who have been by not getting their paychecks.

During the holidays, the Utah Food Bank will break out collection barrels where people can donate food to people in need.  However, President Ginette Bott says the demand for food is already up this year.  So, they might bring out the barrels again if the shutdown continues for much longer.

“Any time over the ten years that I have been here, when we’ve had to put out a call for help, people rally immediately,” she says.

Other low-income families will have to make a different kind of adjustment.  State officials have been asked to give people eligible for SNAP benefits their February allotment early.  However, Dale Ownby with the Department of Workforce Services says there could be a potential problem with that.

“It’s important that our customers realize this is not an extra payment.  This is an early payment.  They need to be mindful that they budget, accordingly,” he says.

Ownby says SNAP benefit recipients have to pace themselves with this money, since they won’t get any more for a while.

“If government funding is restored, or eligible customers will not receive SNAP benefits again until March,” he adds.