SNAP benefit concerns for local families amid government shutdown

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- It's day 24 of the government shutdown. As we inch closer to February, many are wondering how long they'll be able to use their food stamps and benefits for their families.

The funding will run out in February.

"I did go without food. I waited until it came. I had some money, so we ate out for the time being," Monshella McIntyre said.

McIntyre's January SNAP benefits came just five days late.

"Those five days were harsh," she said.

But that's nothing compared to what she's worried will happen to her and her 1-year-old son, Zy'den, if the government shutdown continues.

"I'm worried about not eating. Especially my son not eating," she said. "It's not just me, there are other moms."

Tens of thousands of other families in the Piedmont are in the same situation.

"Around 52,000 individuals. A blend of adults and also children," said Victor Isler, the director of Social Services for Forsyth County.

He says, they don't really know what's going to happen just yet.

"We definitely don't know at this time what [will] happen in February," Isler said. "We will be moving towards a platform, as well as looking at different pantries and food banks for support if it's needed."

Isler hopes it doesn't get to that point. But he is warning people to be careful with February's benefits, just in case.

"I am hopeful that the federal government will get to some point of clarity," he said. "Make sure everyone plans, to the best of their ability, to make sure to maximize that allocation, as it relates to food."

In the meantime, McIntyre is viewing her situation as a test of faith.

"I'm sad. I want to cry but I'm not going to cry. I'm strong and I'm going to get through this," she said. "[But] I pray the shutdown doesn't happen forever. I hope it ends."

FOX8 was also informed that 158 retailers in North Carolina are no longer accepting EBT cards because they were unable to re-certify the benefits because of the shutdown.

The Department of Health and Human Services is compiling a list of the stores and will post it on their website when it becomes available.

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