|Published:||Oct 11, 2013 6:36 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 11, 2013 6:46 PM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla.- "It's hard living with food stamps. I cant imagine living without them."
John Hale grew up on food stamps, watching his mom suffer day to day to make ends meet. Today, he's doing the same with his family.
"I just use it for the stuff we need ... I mean buy food, drinks, water."
Shannon Markley shares his struggle.
"I would prefer not to have to use it, but the economy ... the jobs. It's really hard to keep steady employment for me."
Both men survive on around $200 a month. Many in Southwest Florida are doing the same.
According to the Florida Department of Children and families, more than 26,000 people in Lee County live on food stamps.
In Collier County and Charlotte counties, there are about 500 people each. But it soon could end. With the government shut down, food stamps in Florida will no longer be funded by the 31st.
"We are in dire straits right now, I think it would be a catastrophe for everyone, the US in general."
And the state isn't picking up the slack. Under Governor Scott's orders, money from the state will not keep the funding going.
The fallout? Something Hale and Markley says the state isn't prepared for.
"Just imagine how crime is going to go up ... people who can't feed their families, you don't think people are going to do what they have to do."
WINK News reached out to the USDA, the agency in charge of food stamps. Their answer? A voicemail saying employees had been furloughed. Governor Scott's office did not return our calls.