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Food Stamp Benefit Boost Comes as More Ohioans Look for Help

April 2, 2009

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio residents in need of food assistance are receiving welcome news. The food stamp benefit is increasing nearly 14 percent on average as part of the federal economic stimulus package. The increase will translate to an average increase of $25 per person per month for those who receive food stamps in Ohio.

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, says this is an increase that will change lives.

"Many Ohioans who are struggling to make choices between food and medicine, food and rent, food or utilities won’t have to make those difficult choices."

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the food stamp caseload increased over 12 percent between 2007 to 2008. Hamler-Fugitt says she applauds Congressional leaders who helped to make this happen for struggling families.

"More and more Ohioans are having to depend on not only food stamps but emergency food assistance because they’ve either lost their jobs or they are suffering from a reduction in the number of hours."

It's important that anyone who needs assistance fill out an application and apply for food stamps, adds Hamler-Fugitt.

"There are many people who have maybe applied in the past and determined that they weren’t eligible or the benefit was too low. The eligibility changes on an annual basis so this might encourage folks."

Some say the extra spending from the added food stamp benefits will ripple through the entire economy, helping to create jobs, sales and economic development.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH