MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A government shutdown is averted for now, however, if we do see a shutdown after the 45-day stopgap period, an estimated 15% of Alabama’s population rely on the government for food assistance.

That’s according to the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities who say north of 700,000 Alabamians rely on federal assisted food programs.

It’s why food distributors are getting ahead across North Alabama ramping up and preparing for what may or may not occur.

“If there is a crisis that is looming, we want to make sure we’re prepared. We don’t want to ever have to turn people away,” said Shirley Schofield who is the CEO of the Food Bank of North Alabama.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP along with SNAP for women, infants, and children or WIC could’ve been affected.

More than 700,000 people in Alabama rely on federal assistance to feed their families. A shutdown could’ve disrupted funding for those programs meaning those families could lose the help.

Funding for food assistance is not expected to be impacted in October. However, if it a shutdown were to extend beyond that point, SNAP and WIC could be in jeopardy. It’s why Shirley Schofield with the Food Bank of North Alabama says they’re here to assist the community.

“We have seen an increase in need in our community already. This is just another you know potential that can impact our families, and we just want to make sure that everyone knows that we’re prepared, and we will make sure that we have food for the families,” Schofield told News 19.

Fran Fluhler with Manna House says local food banks must come together to help feed those in need.

“We have to do what we’re doing right now which is churches, civic groups, pantries, and other organizations coming together to help provide for those who are less fortunate,” Fluhler said. “We’ve got plenty of food and we’re always giving fresh foods, meats, and vegetables. I think that if a family is looking for that we could definitely provide that.”

For those in need or knows someone in need, The Food Bank of North Alabama and Manna House distribute food weekly.