The federal food stamp program that provides a lifeline to needy people throughout Florida will continue running through February. Funding for the program was set to expire at the end of the month due to the government shutdown.
A continuing resolution bill frees up money left over from last year’s budget to keep the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program-or SNAP- running through February.
But if the shutdown continues after that, more than 3 million Floridians who rely on the program could be forced to go without.
The Salvation Army of Orange and Osceola Counties’ Director Ken Chapman says they’re already preparing to serve more families in March.
“So we have a great partnership with Second Harvest and we’re actually getting ready to double up on our orders. We want to be prepared and proactive instead of reactive.”
Orange County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Program Director Lora Gilbert says the school district’s free meal programs should be set at least through April.
“Our funding has been extended through January 2019. So we have not been impacted and we’ve received instructions that even if we do go past that particular date we do have a fund balance beyond three months.”
More than 68 percent of students at OCPS are eligible to receive free meals based on demonstrated need.