Will the U.S. Government shutdown? What to expect and how to get help!

“I remember the last time the U.S. Government shutdown, the WhyHunger Hotline was inundated with calls from Government workers looking for help finding food and were not getting paid, and people who were relying on benefits like SNAP or WIC, who were no longer getting their benefits,” said Patricia Rojas, WhyHunger’s Hotline and Database Manager. “Even the Government websites were down, it was hectic.”

As the U.S. braces for a possible Government shutdown as early as Oct 1st, tens of millions of people who rely on the Government for benefits or wages are living in limbo.

Who will be impacted?

The shutdown will impact folks who are already struggling to feed their families and make ends meet, like parents who rely on critical benefits like WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) to feed their babies or Head Start preschool programs that supply meals and childcare so they can work.

For workers facing lost or delayed wages, the impact will be felt immediately. “We are coming right off of the COVID pandemic, and people already don’t have savings, food and gas are really expensive, rent is sky-high. People are going to suffer,” explained Rojas. According to the USDA, food prices increased from 2018 to 2022 by more than 20%, outpaced only by transportation costs. “The rising cost of food is already a huge challenge for people, even without a shutdown.”

According to a recent article in USA Today, here is just a partial list of possible impacts:

    • Funding for WIC − the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children − would stop immediately
    • Food stamp benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would remain intact in October but could be impacted after that
    • Children from low-income families would lose access to Head Start preschool programs
    • College students could see delays in their student loans
    • The Food and Drug Administration would delay nonessential food safety inspections
    • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would limit its work
    • Travelers could see delays with receiving passports
    • National parks could close
    • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would have no money for disaster relief

How can you get help?

WhyHunger’s Hotline and Find Food database are available to help!

To get connected to free nutritious food and resources in your community you can:

    • Visit WhyHunger.org/FindFood
    • Call the WhyHunger Hotline at 1-800-5-HUNGRY
    • Text your ZIP Code to 1-800-548-6479

Help is available in English and Spanish!

WhyHunger helps veterans, seniors, families and working people around the country access nutritious food in their neighborhoods year-round and in times of crisis.  Over the past two years, the WhyHunger Hotline and digital Find Food tools connected over 2.4 million people to nutritious food to meet growing needs.

How can you help?

Want to help? Visit WhyHunger.org and click “Get Involved” to find ways to volunteer. You can help keep our Find Food digital tools up to date with the latest information on local food resources as a virtual volunteer.
Do you know of an organization, mutual aid group or community resource that is not yet included in our database? Email us at [email protected] so we can share these critical resources with callers!