Families, food banks prepare if government shutdown continues

Cameron Taylor, WSMV

Thousands of Midstate families who are already struggling could have a tougher time making ends meet.

Families who rely on food stamps already have to watch their money whenever they go to the grocery store.

This is another possible effect from the government shutdown. If this doesn't end soon, they could be in a dangerous situation.

As a father of four, Harrison Conner knows how to stretch a dollar.

"Food is flying in and out every minute and it's hard. It gets harder," Conner said.

His family receives what's called SNAP benefits to help with the grocery bill. Next month is taken care of, but after that he doesn't know.

"If we can get through February 1st, one step at a time, but now thinking about it, it is something to prepare for," Conner said.

He isn't the only one thinking ahead.

"This shutdown isn't politics. This shutdown is happening to people and it is not just happening to people who are employed by the government, but people who rely on some sort of help," Marsha Edwards, President and CEO of the Martha O'Bryan Center said.

Edwards sees about 30 families per day at the food bank.

She's meeting with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to make sure it stays stocked up.

"It will be an unbelievable amount of pressure on this little food bank to serve the people that come to our door," Edwards said.

More than 900,000 Tennesseans rely on SNAP benefits.

With so much uncertainty, Conner worries about how he'll feed his family if the shutdown continues.

"It would put a lot of strain on just food management for the most part," Conner said.

The state already started sending out money for next month. Most should have it by January 20.

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