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Food Stamp Applications Flood DCF Office

September 30th, 2008 by flanews

The number or people applying for food stamps in Florida has skyrocketed. Each drop of the Dow brings a new round of applications. As Whitney Ray tells us, the state is working over time to keep up.

Hear it Here: Food Stamp Applications Flood DCF Office

Sharonda Coleman has a 3 year-old daughter with epilepsy. She takes care of her daughter fulltime and relies on a food stamp debit card to eat.

It gives me ample time to spend with her and recognize you know when shes sick and when shes not sick, said Sharonda.

Sharonda is just one of a growing number of Floridians who rely on food stamps to feed their families.

At the food stamp application processing center the phones are ringing off the hook. The call volume has risen to 120,000 a day, 40,000 more than a year ago. The number of Floridians using the program is up more than 20 percent statewide and more than 60 percent in some areas.

Derrick Riggins interviews food stamp applicants. He talks to a lot of people who never would have thought theyd need help.

The story I hear the most is, I didnt want to have to come this route but because of the economy this is the route I have to come, said Riggins.

For many this is the first time theyve been unemployed. Floridas unemployment rate has skyrocketed above the national average. Last year more than half the people who lost their jobs worked in the construction industry.

Lee Ann Godwin has helped dozens of unemployed construction workers apply for food stamps. She says sometimes its hard to do her job.

I hear stories and as much as I want to sit down and cry with some of my people I have to continue getting their information in, said Lee Ann.

The state is paying the overtime to keep up with all the calls. The food stamps are paid for by the federal government.

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