Nearly one million people in the commonwealth of Virginia struggle to put food on the table.  

Thousands of those people may lose key benefits to the SNAP program, otherwise known as food stamps, if the federal government shutdown continues.

Those people using the SNAP program will be able to use their benefits through the end of February, but if the shutdown continues into March, they'll need to look for other options.

“It's a mix of frustration and a little anger frankly and some fear about what's going to happen,” said Michael McKee with Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “SNAP also provides 12 times as much food as food banks do, so while we're preparing to get as much food out as we can across our network, we can never replace what is coming from SNAP.”

Area food banks have started to make preparations as the federal government shutdown continues.  

Even with more supplies, it will likely not be enough. 

“We're afraid that if the shutdown continues well into February and SNAP benefits are cut the food bank will be completely overwhelmed, people will have nowhere to go,” stated McKee.

“I'm sure that it would affect our numbers tremendously because people are hungry,” said Kevin Mellette a work from The Haven. “Where would their source of food come from? Which could explode into something that would be really, really dangerous because when you're hungry, you're going to go by any means necessary to feed yourself.”

As the shutdown continues, leaders at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank are gathering as much food as possible to serve as many people as possible.

McKee said, “How can you as a parent look a hungry child in the eye and know that you can't do anything about it? That's a horrible situation, but that's what we could be facing as early as March.”

If the shutdown continues, people receiving snap benefits will be getting them early in the month of January to last them through February 28.