The average monthly benefit for a California family is going from 300 to 341 dollars. John Wagner is director of the state Department of Social Services.
"That means that the CA economy will receive 840 million dollars over the next 18 months that will go directly into needy Californians pocketbooks.”
The number of Californians using food stamps has risen sharply; it’s up more than 20 percent over the past year. About two-and-a-half million receive food stamps currently – but state officials expect that to keep growing. Jessica Barthelow is Director of Programs for the California Association of Food Banks. She reads from a recent email received at one of the state's food banks.
“Hello, my name is Nick and I have some questions. I’ve never looked for food or money before, so bear with me….fade
Barthelow says the increase in food stamps comes at a critical time:
“By email, by phone, by foot, new people are coming into food banks every day. Food banks across the state are being inundated by requests for help.”
Barthelow says the extra 41 dollars probably won’t be enough to get families through the whole month. Her research shows many run out of food stamps between the second and third weeks. But she hopes the extra money will get them through at least three weeks. To be eligible for food stamps, a family of four must make less than about 23-hundred dollars a month.