Thursday, February 12, 2009

Texans Turn to Food Stamps for Nutrition

More Texans are turning to food stamps to battle rising prices that present a choice between less food - or less quality.

"It's not that I don't want to eat healthy or anything but I would much rather eat something than nothing at all," Angelle Mendez, a 34 year-old Texan mother told Scripps News. "Plus, it's not exactly the best time to be picky, I also have other people to feed at home."

To cope, Mendez has joined the 1 in 8 Texans using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), AKA food stamps. 

Luckily, it is estimated that the stimulus bill now before Congress will send approximately $1 billion in SNAP benefits to hungry Texas families. Unfortunately, Texas has yet to embrace the new "SNAP" name, with its overtones of nutrition, and is still having difficulty with a newly privatized eligibility system that makes the application process unnecessarily difficult. 

Angel Reyna of El Paso applied for the program when he lost his job as a truck driver last year. He credits the SNAP program with helping him continue to feed his family while he looked for work, and now he's back on his feet. 

"You use it when you're down, and you start putting back in the system when you're up," he said.

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