Food banks feel stress of food stamp problem

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Community Food Bank is always busy. But since the state's food stamp snafu, the palettes of soup and fresh fruit have started to move even faster.

"Month to month what we're seeing is new growth," said Jon West, Community Building Manager for the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

That's because families that once had a few hundred dollars in grocery money have found themselves going months - with nothing.

"It's a trade off between their kids eating or keeping the lights on. That's hard math to do and neither one of those are a good answer," said West.

West say he noticed a spike in November, in part he believes, due to problems with the state's phone line and application system, as well as cuts to the amount many families received. The food bank says demand shot up 3% from the previous year. In December, it rose 8 percent. Then another spike of 4.4% in February.

"You're not going to let that one go?" said the Governor on Wednesday, when confronted about problems with the system.

"We're doing a great job. We're getting out of a situation that was created over a long period of time," Gov. Deal added.

But after that conversation the governor requested DHS to ask for a temporary waiver to immediately approve expedited food stamp applications. Expedited cases are those for families with little to no income.

DHS says about 2,700 people would be affected by the waiver if it's approved.

Republican gubernatorial challenger David Pennington was quick to criticize the move, saying in a written statement, "Spend more tax dollars now; check the facts later. It sounds like Nancy Pelosi with Obamacare."

DHS countered, saying it would "perform the proper due diligence that guarantees Georgian's tax dollars were only spent on those who are eligible."


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