Sep 23, 2011 7:51 PM by Evan Weborg (Helena)

Helena Food Share, SNAP report increase in clients

Helena Food Share saw record numbers of clients participating in the grocery program in August, and September has continued the busy trend.

The agency is reporting more than 3,000 visits a month.

Ann Waickman, Helena Food Share executive director, noted, "The number of people that are in need of just a little help right now, today, to get through the challenges that they are facing economically are staggeringly high. In the state of Montana 12.4 percent I believe of all Montanans are food insecure, they really don't know where there next meal is coming from."

Waickman says that there are a lot of people who once donated to Helena Food Share who are now reaching out for assistance.

The Helena Food share is not the only food program seeing a rise in numbers.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has also seen an increase in demand for food stamps in Montana.

From 2009 to 2011, Montana recorded a 20% increase in recipients using the program, with Lewis & Clark County reporting a 22% increase during that time.

Linda Snedigar of the MT Department of Health & Human Services said, "We have had an unprecedented increase and it is people that we have never seen in our offices before. The title of this program is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and it really has become I believe a supplement for people who have unemployment insurance, who have hours cut at work, or truly just have no income at all coming in right now."

Looking ahead, Snedigar says that October is traditionally a month that will see a rise in the number of food stamps.


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