As the nation slowly moves out of recession, more people are using food support programs in Cook County. In a report to the county commissioners last week, Human Services Fiscal Supervisor Jan Parish documented a 130% increase in September food support cases over 2006/2007 levels.
The increase from 55 to 127 cases shows 242 people – 155 adults and 87 children – sought food support benefits last month alone. That figure translates to a total value of $26,141 or an average of $206 per case. The dollar amount is based on the size of a household and can vary from as little as $16 per month to many hundreds more than the average.
Food Support, once known as Food Stamps, amounted to over $39.4 million in financial food assistance benefits state-wide last month – an 86% increase over Sept. of 2006.
This has been the trend all year, with 168 more cases served over last year thus far and 442 more cases than in 2008 in the same nine month period. The majority of Food Support dollars is federal money, no county dollars are used. Food Support is the state’s name for the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.