MU Extension\'s Family and Nutrition Program to Resume

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COLUMBIA - After some aspects of the University of Missouri Extension's Family and Nutrition Education Program were suspended due to the government shutdown, the program's director said parts of the program will resume the week of October 21.

Because of the shutdown, the program was unable to provide nutrition and physical activity information for food stamp recipients across the state. The program serves an average of 360,000 people per year.

Director Jo Britt-Rankin said the shutdown caused the program to not be able to serve as many people as it would have liked.

"Approximately 1,000 new people are enrolled in our program and they receive on average six classes. So we figure for about the time we were shut down we've lost 15,000 people," Britt-Rankin said.

Even though the program had to suspend the educational program, funding from MU was able to support the employees during the interim period. Britt-Rankin said if there was still no resolution by Monday, the program would be forced to lay off 125 workers across the state and lose the program altogether.

"We're very happy that the state department of social services from whom this grant comes has notified us this morning that we can resume programming and that our funding is back and provided for," Britt-Rankin said.

Diane Dews, the payroll manager for MU Extension, said the government shutdown was a tough time for Extension employees.

"It was stressful for everyone," said Dews. "It makes you feel more vulnerable when things like this happen. A long government shutdown can have a significant affect. And our programs have a big affect. It's not just the employees that are impacted."

Britt-Rankin said MU Extension should resume the educational program the week of October 21, specifically sometime between Tuesday and Thursday.