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Mon August 23, 2010
Wyoming food stamp use is still high
By Molly Messick
Laramie, Wy – Nationally, the number of people receiving food stamps has gone up by 50 percent since the start of the recession. Wyoming has also seen an increase. In the state the number of households receiving federal food assistance has gone up by 57 percent over the last two years. Jacque Petroski is a consultant with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - also called SNAP. She says enrollment in the food stamp program has leveled off and dropped slightly since March - but it is still very high.
"The biggest issue that we had is that we had a lot of people coming in - and still are coming in I should say - that are applying for benefits that have never had to do this before. And people are very anxious about that. They don't know how the system works, if they're going to qualify or not. And these are people that have had very good jobs. And all the sudden they don't have that. They're scared. They don't know how they're going to feed their kids next month or make their mortgage payment."
Early this month, the federal government reported that a record 40 point 8 million people received food stamps in May. That's roughly one in eight Americans. In Wyoming, the percentage is significantly lower, with just over 35 thousand state residents receiving benefits. For those who might be eligible for food assistance, the Wyoming Department of Family Services has field offices in every county in the state.