Food Stamps Soar
As the unemployment rate in Florida continues to skyrocket above the national average, more and more people find themselves applying for food stamps.
State officials see a new round of applications with each drop of the dow, and the state is working overtime to keep up with the demand. The call volume has risen to 120,000 calls a day, which is 40,000 more than the rate was a year ago. The number of Floridians using the program has increased more than 20 percent statewide, and in some areas more than 60 percent.
Derrick Riggins, an economic elf-sufficiency specialist, said he interviews many applicants for food stamps who never thought they would be unemployed.
"The story I hear the most is, 'I didn't want to have to come this route, but because of the economy, this is the route I have to come,'" Riggins said.
The food stamps, which are paid for by the federal government, are in high demand. Four counties in Florida have seen requests for the stamps increase more than 50 percent.
In North Central Florida, Putnam County saw an increase of almost 44 percent, while Marion County went up 33 percent. Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties all saw an increase in requests as well. Alachua County was the only county to see a decrease in requests. It went down three-tenths of a percent.
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