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Delaware Food Stamp Rises

It appears Delaware community underwent various challenges.

Well paying jobs were lost in New Castle County. Economic crisis happened in Smyrna after many job seekers tried an affordable life. Life in Rehoboth Beach was not all partying for younger workers.

It was increasingly worrying on the large number of Delawareans seeking food assistance.

Over the past one decade, the number of residents who get food stamps has risen by up to 14% of the whole community.

Joy Robertson from Wilmington says that it all began in 2004. The 68-year-old woman was forced to become legal guardian to her two granddaughters and has been relying on food stamps since then.

She acknowledges of her inability to afford juice and vegetables essential for her granddaughters’ healthy growth.  She notes that although there is a food pantry that offers food support, it is ever flocked.

Despite of signing up at 6 a.m., hardly is there anything left to be collected according to Joyce. You only get an apple or an orange, she adds.

In reference to data obtained by The News Journal from the Department of Health and Social Services, it is clear that in some states, there has been a relative increase of food stamp recipients between 2003 and 2013.

In a New Castle County ZIP code 19713, despite a 2.7% decrease in population, there has been a notable increase of food stamp seekers by 299%. In Kent’s 19977 in Smyrna, there was a population increase of 70% but the food stamp seekers grew by 250%.  Surprisingly, food stamp users rose by 325% in Rehoboth Beach of Sussex with only a 23% increase in population.

Over the past decade, the overall state’s food stamp rolls increased by 196% as compared to the U.S. national average of 124%.

In summary, 152,000 Delawareans rely on government for food support. This reflects an enormous growth from about 51,000 a decade ago.  Regardless of the healthier U.S. economy, it appears that food stamps demand will continue to rise.

Elaine Archangelo, director of the Delaware Division of Social Services, said that even as the economy improves slowly, she is not expecting the caseload to decline.

In Delaware, as well as in other states, those eligible for enrollment are encouraged to do so as it is a benefit offered based on income.  Similarly with other states, Delaware lately expanded eligibility enabling many households to qualify.

Archangelo ascertains that this change alone is not behind the rise in demand for food stamps, adding that it could be due to economy.

Patricia Beebe, CEO of the Food Bank of Delaware, which serves 477 food pantries reckons that loss of quality jobs, especially in New Castle, and poorly paid jobs could account for the rise in demand. She added that the Food Bank is not catching up to demand.

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