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Food Stamp Applications Skyrocket in Florida

January 6th, 2009 by flanews

One out of every 10 Floridians is now receiving food stamps. The number continues to rise and as Whitney Ray tells us, families whove never before applied for benefits are depending on food stamps to make ends meet.

Hear it Here: Food Stamp Applications Skyrocket

As the states unemployment rate skyrockets so does the need for food stamps. Three million calls poured into the states food stamp hotline last month. Lee Ann Godwin helps people with their applications and listens to their stories.

The tears, men and women, single fathers coming in. It hurts their pride and their ego, said Lee Ann.

The Department of Children and Families is trying to process claims with 3,000 fewer people.

I know there is a lot of frustration in the public who cant get through to the call centers, said DCF Secretary George Sheldon.

The call center has been so busy that more and more people have been stopping by their local offices to apply in person.

Work has slowed for horticulturalist David Lietz. For the past few months hes been visiting the food stamp office. Over time hes seen a change.

There seems to be more people and just more middle class people, said David.

And with more members of the working class depending on food stamps, DCF hopes lawmakers will give them the money they need to extent their call center hours and pay overtime.

DCF is facing a five million dollar budget cut, but administrators hope a five million dollar bonus award the department received for being efficient can be used to bridge the gap.

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