Columbus family budgeting as food assistance funding hangs in the balance during shutdown

    Stephanie Lawrence said she's budgeting her SNAP benefits, or food stamps closely in the midst of the government shutdown. (WSYX/WTTE)

    Unless the government shutdown in resolved, funding for food assistance benefits could run out by March.

    "It's hard as a mom, when your kids look at you and they are so used to just the simple things, taking a snack to school," said mom of five Stephanie Lawrence.

    Lawrence said she's budgeting her SNAP benefits, or food stamps closely.

    Because of the shutdown, Ohio is issuing February food assistance benefits to people before the end of January. As for March, that support is up in the air.

    "When you have gluten allergies throughout the house, some foods are more costly than others, so it affects a lot," she said.

    Franklin County Job and Family Services said nearly 1 in 5 people in the county get some kind of assistance. Lawrence worries about what's next for the family.

    "I've been on food stamps for a couple of months now," said Lawrence. "I have a daughter that you know is sick, so you know, just circumstance."

    Lawrence said the benefits make up the majority of her family food budget.

    "They already give you on the SNAP website how to map out your benefits to make it stretch," she said.

    Ron Bryant with King Lincoln Family Services with Rehoboth Temple Church said they will be offering help to families like the Lawrence's.

    "Help them bridge from February -March when they won't be getting those allotments and that's the issue," he said.

    Bryant said they provide food and housing services through various programs.

    "A lot of people have trepidation, they don't know how ends are going to meet," said Bryant.

    In the meantime, Lawrence will be keeping a close watch on dinner.

    For more on SNAP benefits and the impact of the partial government shutdown, visit the county's website.

    You can learn more about King Lincoln Family Services at their website as well.


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