Food Stamps Could Change

Posted: May 31, 2007 11:21 PM

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A lot has changed in 30 years, and now America's food stamp program could change before the end of the year. The 30-year food stamp act is up for renewal.

Alice Fullington is a 30-year food stamp recipient.

"When things get rough, I rely on going back to food stamps," Fullington said.

Fullington gets $28 a month - not even a dollar a day. So she also goes to the food pantry, because she has no other choice.

"It's not a lot, but it's enough to help carry through the month and make ends meet," Fullington said.

The number of Missourians like Fullington keeps going up.

"Actually, in the last six or seven years, we've seen a significant increase in the number of individuals receiving food stamp benefits," Missouri Family Support Division's Rachel Morris said.

In Boone County, that number increased from 10,000 to 16,000 since 2002. For those who can't make it on food stamps for an entire month, food banks across Missouri pitch in.

"I really believe that organizations like the food bank are much more efficient with a dollar than a government dollar," Central Missouri Food Bank's Peggy Kirkpatrick said.

The dollar goes further at food banks because there is less red tape.

"Many times people qualify for food stamps but the food stamp accessibility has been very difficult," Kirkpatrick said.

But the Family Support Division says Missourians can get the help they need.

"We're number one in the nation for food stamp participation and program access, making sure the eligible receive food stamp benefits," Morris said.

Fullington sees both sides.

"Once you get in the system, it's worth staying there for the little bit that you do get. I just wish it were more," Fullington said.

So Fullington is writing to Washington asking to keep what she has and make it better. GRO, or Grass Roots Organizing, started the letter-writing campaign that Fullington joined.

Additionally, Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson is a co-sponsor of a current bill to increase benefits and eligibility for the food stamp program.

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