Local agencies could be affected if government shutdown continues

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Updated: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 09:42:50 CST

While there's still no end in sight to the government shutdown, the House voted unanimously Wednesday to restore military death benefits.

Some lawmakers called it progress, but there are still a lot of people's well-beings at stake.

The Women, Infant and Children Supplemental Nutrition program in Kearney helps feed more than 3,000 hungry mouths in its service area.

Head Start prepares pre-school age children for school.

Both programs serve the most vulnerable families in the state--the ones in poverty.

"Our families depend on us," said Lois Butler, director of the area Head Start. "It's their education for their children. We have education services through Head Start and Early Head Start for adults in the house hold."

While most Head Start and WIC programs in Nebraska are still up and running, if the government shutdown continues, it's only a matter of time before they'll have to shut their doors.

"Currently WIC is open, we are serving and we are looking at it and monitoring it," said Judy Schultz, area WIC director.

The WIC program at the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska is surviving on funds leftover from the previous fiscal year, but they're handing out WIC vouchers for just the month of October.

The uncertainty of the future is nerve-wracking for moms like Amber Blevins.

"We have three children on it right now," Blevins said. TThat's up to 8 gallons of milk a months and 3 cans of formula, cheese and eggs."

Without the supplemental food, a lot of families would have to go without.

"You'd have to budget and cut down in some places," she added.

In the case of Head Start, no Nebraska programs have an October first fiscal year, so they're in the clear, for now.

But, Butler said she hopes the government can work things out sooner rather than later, so kids don't lose out.

"It is definitely an unfair process because they're sort of the innocent victims of the government shutdown," she said.

Meals on Wheels, the food program for seniors is also suffering across the country.

But, according to Julie Nash with Senior Action in Hastings, they're operating as normal until they're told they won't be receiving funding.