Local News 8 (Idaho), July 2, 2008: Food Stamps On The Rise

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Posted: July 2, 2008 06:22 PM

Updated: July 2, 2008 07:11 PM

By Michelle Costa

If you’re concerned about buying your groceries and on a low-income, perhaps you should consider looking into using food stamps.

The State Department of Health and Welfare believe the number of people using food stamps is going to grow even more with the high costs.

Ricky Elmer’s been on food stamps for about four years.

“It has been helping a lot. Like I said it helps, I’ve been helping a lot of kids with it,” said Ricky Elmer, Pocatello resident.

He’s working part-time and trying to take care of his family at the same time. Ricky’s one of the 95,312 people on monthly in Idaho average using food stamps.

“I get by month. I think they’ve got me on $92 a month,” said Elmer.

In our area, we’re above the state average of 9% with an 11% increase since last year in the number of people enrolled in food stamps.

There are also more people in the Women, Infant and Children program, known as WIC.

“We’re on the increase. Adding more and more people everyday with food prices,” said Erin Francfort, WIC Coordinator.

Since last year, it’s a 10% increase, now totaling 6,259 people.

“People can make more money and still qualify for WIC, which is also making more people come. 185% of poverty rate,” said Francfort.

With the price of food continually going up, more people are using their food stamp cards to buy their staples like milk, bread and eggs.

Grocery stores should be seeing more people using food stamps. But, that’s just not happening yet.

“Actually, the trend is flat right now. I think they’re looking to other avenues to save money,” said Joel Chandler, Albertsons Store Director.

“I haven’t seen an increase in them. We do have a lot of them, but not an increase,” said Mike Lords, Ridley’s Assistant Manager.

For Ricky, swiping his card in the checkout line makes it possible to survive.

WIC provides vouchers for food along with nutrition programs. For more information on the WIC program, call (208) 239-5263.

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