Because of the partial government shutdown, families who use the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) received their February benefits early.
Earlier this month many people receiving SNAP benefits were concerned they wouldn't get their benefits for February at all.
Carol Gundlach, a policy analyst with Alabama Arise, says that 750,000 Alabamians depend on SNAP to feed their families.
"Food stamps, SNAP benefits are one of the most important of the federal programs that keep people from being hungry and that really support work and low income people," says Gundlach.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) decided they could release benefits within 30 days of the shut down. Alabamians received their SNAP benefits for February by January 20th.
The problem with getting these benefits early, is how long it will be until whenever individuals regularly get their benefits in March.
"Tell people to remember that they are not going to get benefits in February. If they got February benefits in January they are not going to get them again in February even if the government reopens. So they are going to have to really be careful to stretch those benefits until their regular day in March," says Gundlach.
Gundlach says government shutdown or not, people depend on these benefits to feed their families. Even without the shutdown, sometimes its not enough.
"SNAP benefits are inadequate under the best circumstances and having this long of a time period before people get assistance again we are very worried about hunger," says Gundlach.