SNAP office packed after shutdown leaves Memphis families fighting deadline

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The government shutdown moved up a deadline for people to submit information for SNAP benefits, leaving many Memphis families scrambling.

Due to the government shutdown, people renewing benefits in February had to have all paperwork turned in by Monday.

The Department of Human Services office near the airport was packed with people trying to secure next month's SNAP benefits and feed their families. Many of them said they found out about the deadline after seeing it on News Channel 3 Monday morning.

"It's a good thing we did come, or we wouldn't have been eating," said Tauheedah Frison, who relies on food stamps to feed her three boys.

The state announced the deadline Friday, days after the federal government secured SNAP funding for February. But the benefits have to be given out this month, and that's why the paperwork has to be in now.

The chaos was due to the government shutdown. A number of lawmakers are unwilling to pass a budget that doesn't include billions for a portion of President Trump's proposed border wall.

"They need to get their business straight and get their act straight, said Latricia Porter, who also saw Monday's deadline on News Channel 3. "I hurried on down here."

She needs food stamps to feed herself and her 11-month-old grandbaby.

"I depend on them 100 percent," she said.

For now, the state doesn't know if benefits will be available beyond February. It all hinges on the shutdown.

"I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have my food stamps," Porter said. "It would be really hard. It would be a real struggle."

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