Shutdown Could Have Big Impact On Food Programs For Native Americans

Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 3:13pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 4:02pm
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About 100,000 Native Americans depend on food from the federal government. While the Department of Agriculture program has funding through the end of January, some worry about what's to come.

During the shutdown in 2013 warehouses that stored the food for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDIPR) program including fresh fruit, vegetables and meat were locked up. The truck drivers had been furloughed so no deliveries could be made.

Native Americans who rely on food stamps needed another source when the feds cut that program, said Colby Duren, who directs the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative

"Demand increased over night because of SNAP funding decreasing at the same time the government shutting down and FDIPR losing its funding," Duren said. "And so many places were forced to close and food was left behind locked in warehouses to rot with hungry people outside."

If the shutdown continues beyond January the Department of Agriculture has to tap into emergency funds, which won't be enough to cover the nation's largest food aid program, let alone the tribes'.

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