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SNAP recipients urged to stretch benefits

February benefits have already been distributed. Program only funded through next month.

ST. LOUIS — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients are being asked to budget their latest distribution of dollars.

Due to the partial government shutdown, the program is only funded through February. Families already received February’s allotment and will not receive anymore on Feb. 1.

It’s also unlikely that more funds will be distributed until the government fully reopens, according to St. Louis Area Foodbank spokesman Ryan Farmer. He fears families will struggle if politicians can’t find a middle ground.

“There's going to be millions and millions of people across the country that won't have their SNAP benefits,” Farmer said.

PREVIOUS: Food stamp recipients will get their benefits early due to the government shutdown

Roughly 400,000 people, 45 percent of which are children, in the area rely on SNAP for food in the St. Louis metro-area.

Save-A-Lot is making it easy on families looking to stretch their SNAP dollars by offering food options for under $1 and affordable meal options for families.

“Americans in general are cash strapped,” said Lee DeVille, of Save-A-Lot. “We always want to save money whenever we can. Our company is looking to do that each and every way we can. Our consumers are budgeting differently, so we are looking at new ways to help customers stretch their dollars."

Farmer said if SNAP funds disappear, more families will turn to his organization.

“That’s going to often times have people turn to the closest sources of food,” Farmer said. “That’s going to be a food pantry, soup kitchen, a shelter in their community."

As families compromise on priorities, Farmer hopes D.C. politicians can reach a deal.

RELATED: USDA: Food stamps will be funded through February

"We're just really hoping there will be a resolution to the shutdown rather quickly,” Farmer said.

“Of the almost 44 million pounds of food that the St. Louis Area Foodbank distributed last year, about a fourth of that comes from the USDA. If the shutdown continues much longer, you can see that source of food for the foodbank drying up," he added.