Food Stamp use nears all-time high - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Food Stamp use nears all-time high

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

December 1, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Food stamp use is nearing an all-time high in this country. The number of Georgians using them increased by more than 13% from July 2007 to July 2008.  As food stamp use increases so does the need at food pantries.

As the mother of two teenage boys, Theresa Lewis has a tough time getting enough food on the table.  She said, "They love to eat."

But it's not easy giving them everything they want, especially with the recent rise in food prices.   "They went up tremendously," said Lewis.  Due to a disability, Theresa can't work, so she relies on food stamps to help feed her children.

"Because I have minor kids and I want to make sure that they are fed." But it's tough. Each month, she receives $259 for food. That's less than $10 a day to feed her family.

"That's hard for one person to eat off of and if you've got a family, it's a real struggle," said C.B. Fincher.  As a volunteer, he sees struggles like that everyday, as people like Theresa come to the Lord's Pantry seeking a little extra help. 

He said, "Groceries have gone up. Demand has gone up and contributions and support has not followed suit."

As a matter of fact, the Lord's Pantry has bought and given away more food, than money it has taken in. Each day, the organization can help up to 32 people, and each day, they do just that.

Fincher said, "For the last three months, it's been maxed out.  We anticipate it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. That's what we're seeing." And unfortunately, he doesn't see the need ending anytime soon.

Food stamp use is up more than 70% since 2000. As of July in Georgia, 435,804 people were enrolled in the food stamp program. That's up 50,000 from July 2007.

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