By Careen D. Takes The Knife
Due to the plethora of issues caused by the recent government shutdown, the St. Francis community will be opening its doors twice a week to offer a meal.
During the shutdown, the Department of Social Services were forced to unload two months worth of EBT/food stamp benefits in January, and now EBT consumers, used to receiving their food money for the month on the 10th, will not receive anything this coming Sunday.
“Although the February benefit will be made early, SNAP recipients are encouraged to continue to use their benefits as they normally would to help meet their food needs in February,” said Department of Social Services Interim Secretary, Amy Iversen-Pollreisz. Although that is a great concept, the reality is that most families have a hard time making their EBT dollars last throughout the month, let alone over two months.
Adding to the concern is the threat of another shutdown on February 15, leaving the question of how, if or when March’s benefits will be allocated. As of press-time, there were no new press releases issued from DSS regarding March benefits.
Families that did not receive a paycheck for over a month will also be recovering from the lost wages, loan paybacks and possibility of not working looming on February 15.
In another display of true Lakota values (like Antelope’s open shelter during frigid weather), concerned St. Francis community members, along with community chairperson Willard Henry, Sr., decided to expand their once per week meal program to two meals each week. Prior to the shutdown, Henry estimated that the community was serving between 30 to 40 meals each week. However, that number has been steadily increasing, with over 80 meals served last week. By adding a second meal, community members are hoping to alleviate a modicum of financial pressure from our oyate while providing an atmosphere of community togetherness and an opportunity to share our common values. The St. Francis community invites you and your tiospaye for an evening meal on Sundays and Wednesdays.