Federal shutdown has had little local effect
Emergency funds from USDA are helping to keep WIC program running
Union County is seeing little effect so far from the federal government shutdown.
Shawnna Sue Jordan, health educator with the Union County Health Department, said the department has furloughed three public health apprentices (PHAPs) from the Centers for Disease Control but has enough money available to keep the local Women, Infant & Children (WIC) offices open.
"Our PHAPs have been working on programs in our office such as infant mortality and safe sleep, childhood immunizations, food safety and accreditation," Jordan said.
"Services that we provide to the public in these areas will continue, but public health education in these areas will be delayed until our PHAPs return from furlough."
She said the department has received many phone calls asking about WIC and sent out notices to let people know it has enough money to fund the WIC program for now.
Jennifer Thrush, public information officer for the county health department, said new clients are being accepted, coupons for food items still are valid and will continue to be distributed, and current WIC recipients should continue to keep their WIC appointments and shop as usual.
"State leaders have shared with our local office that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in Ohio has received contingency funds from the USDA, which will enable them to maintain services through October," Thrush said.
Union County currently serves 800 individuals in the WIC program, Jordan said.
Statewide, WIC serves about 260,000 women, infants and children younger than 5.
If WIC participants have any questions, they are encouraged to call the local WIC office at 937-645-2064.
The Union County Soil and Water Conservation District office is open and employees are in the office and available to offer help, but they do not have access to the computer system or phones.
Marysville schools participate in the national school lunch program and received $729,441 in federally funded grants in fiscal year 2013, but district Treasurer Cindy Ritter said how federal shutdown will affect future federal dollars remains to be seen.
"We do not receive the funds until a month or two after the students have been served," she said. "They base the amounts of reimbursements on the number of lunches or breakfasts served. So really, we have not had, nor have we expected, any of the funding so far.".
Dale Bartow, executive director of the Union County Veterans Service Commission, said it is a county-run agency, so the federal shutdown has had no effect.
"A lot of people have called in to see if we're open," he said. "We remind them we are a county-run agency taking care of veterans' issues or concerns. They ask about the VA clinics and we are still transporting people to the clinics."
If the shutdown drags on and VA benefits are not paid at the first of the month, Bartow said his agency might see people coming in for more help.
Officials at the Union County Department of Job and Family Services also said no problems have come from the shutdown so far.