Government shutdown leaves lasting impact on Akron family

“It’s been a wonderful life – one that I would not trade,” Akron mother Robyn Bryant said.

Bryant’s daughter, Skylar Langham, was only two when her father left the family. Skylar’s mother said the 18-year-old, born with a developmental delay, is between the mental and emotional age of around 8 or 9 years old.

“I am her sole provider. I am a single mom. She cannot be left home alone due to her mental age,” Bryant said.

And without receiving food stamps from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Bryant said her and her daughter would not be able to survive.

“There’s so much at stake here,” Bryant said.

When the government shutdown lasted into the new year, millions of beneficiaries that relied on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP benefits were told to stretch their food stamps weeks longer than they normally would, according to a report by the left-leaning think tank Center on the Budget and Policy Priorities.

“I was told from a jobs and family worker that we are not getting anything in February depending on if the shutdown ends by March. If it doesn’t end by march, we will not get anything then and beyond if the shutdown has not been lifted.”

The government is open now and will remain so unless President Trump and Congress do not reach a spending compromise by Feb. 15.

“No parent should have to worry about how they are going to feed or house their child. No parent should have to do that, period, Bryant said, “It is scary… it is very scary not knowing what is going to happen next.”

As lawmakers deliberate over border wall funding in the next two weeks, Bryant is hoping for a final decision that includes an open government.

“I don’t have family. I have my mother, but she’s in ill health. I can’t ask her to watch her for 10 hours… I hope whoever this reaches that you understand that not everybody wants to live off the government and not everybody asks for things to happen in their lives,” Bryant said.

“I just hope people understand that not everybody has a choice.”

Caty Payette is the TV2 General Manager.  Contact her at [email protected]