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Federal Shutdown Affecting Local Nutrition Programs

Some food programs affected immediately while others have some time.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The federal government shutdown affects more than just the military, federal offices, museums and other attractions.

It's also hitting children locally like those at Friends Gather Here Childcare. The center participates in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

"It's primary goal is to increase the quality of nutrition that is provided by daycare centers," said center staffer Vicki Gentzell.

With the shutdown comes a $900 per month funding cut for the center. That represents about one-third of its food budget.

"We were shocked. We were surprised," Gentzell said.

The 20 kids served through the program will be affected, though the center will do what it can to ensure the kids are eating healthy foods.

"[The shutdown is] a real pinch on our budget," Gentzell said. 

Another St. Joseph program dodging cutbacks for now is the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program

"It's nutritious food, it's breast-feeding support, it's formula, it's baby food, it's food to keep you healthy while you're pregnant," said health educator Nancy Taylor. "Our clients count on that."

The flow of federal dollars has run dry during the shutdown. However, there's enough money to keep the WIC program going for about another four weeks.

"Our doors are open," Taylor said. "The border states, their WIC offices are open as well."

But with federal funding halted, all eyes are on Washington, D.C. to end the standoff before it's too late.

"Let's hope our congress can work something out so things can get back going again and not negatively impact people in our community," Taylor said.

The health department says 26,000 people locally are served by the WIC program.

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