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October 22, 2008
More Idahoans getting food stamps to feed their families 06:19 PM MDT on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Idahoans getting food stamps to feed their families

06:19 PM MDT on Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Scott Evans/KTVB

Number doubled in past 4 months

BOISE -- More Idahoans than ever before are turning to the government to help put food on the table.

High state unemployment numbers and a difficult economy have forced over 43,000 Idaho families to turn to food stamps and food pantries this year.

The number of Idahoans calling the Department of Health and Welfare to see if they qualify for assistance is increasing exponentially.

From June of 2007 to June of 2008 the number of people asking for assistance in Idaho went up nearly 20 percent.

In the last four months that number went up again nearly 100 percent.

Health and Welfare spokesman Tom Shanahan says the families that are on food stamps have on average of three people in the home. To qualify those families are making just over $1,900 a month.

Bruce Whitehouse says his family of four started using food stamps a little while ago, but also uses a food pantry as well.

"I’m hungry, the kids are hungry, what have you, so you just got to do what you got to do. It's more for the kids than for me, so I’m making sure my family eats first, then I eat, so it's just making ends meet," said Whitehouse.

The Freedom Resource Center in Boise is just one of dozens of places across the valley that provides food and supplies to help families get by.

Their director says they are seeing 20 to 30 new families asking for help everyday.

The food stamp program is federally funded, and will continue to give aid to every Idahoan that qualifies.

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