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Report: SNAP Key to Survival in Rural FL Communities

PHOTO: In some parts of the country, food banks have gone mobile to make sure they reach people who need assistance. A new report from the Center for Rural Affairs says in rural areas, where charitable options are scarce, higher percentages of households receive SNAP benefits than in urban areas. Photo courtesy CareOregon.
PHOTO: In some parts of the country, food banks have gone mobile to make sure they reach people who need assistance. A new report from the Center for Rural Affairs says in rural areas, where charitable options are scarce, higher percentages of households receive SNAP benefits than in urban areas. Photo courtesy CareOregon.
August 11, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Oftentimes, the issue of hunger is associated with people in inner cities, where the cost of living tends to be high.

But a new study shows some of the greatest need can be found where America's food supply is grown and raised.

Jon Bailey, director of rural public policy program for the Center for Rural Affairs, authored the report, which examines the use of food stamps, now called SNAP benefits, from 2008 to 2012.

"And what we found is that during that time period, more households in rural areas received SNAP benefits than did households in more urban – both metropolitan and small-city – areas," he says.

In that five-year period, the report says more than 14 percent of rural households received SNAP benefits, compared to slightly under 11 percent of urban households.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a little more than 16 percent of Florida's population receives SNAP benefits.

Another key finding, says Bailey, is that rural areas and small cities have higher percentages of households with seniors and children receiving food support than in larger urban areas.

"SNAP is providing a way for those people and those households to meet their food needs, which is important,” he points out, “because those two population groups are probably most at risk of hunger and food insecurity."

In rural areas, one in nine households has a SNAP recipient who is either under age 18, or 60 years of age or older.

In Florida, the average SNAP benefit per household is just under $140 a month.



Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - FL