Since last May, Iowa has lost about 23,000 jobs. That’s led to a record number of Iowans receiving Food Stamps. Roger Munns, spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Human Services , says around 289,000 Iowans are getting the financial help.
"The average household benefit (in Iowa) has been $235 a month, or about $108 per recipient per month," Munns said. "That’s a little more than one dollar a meal, if you figure three meals a day." The average benefit recently increased under the federal stimulus package.
Munns says the increase amounts to 13.6% or rougly $32 per month. The increase in Food Stamp applicants and recipients comes at a time when the D.H.S. and other state agencies are trying to trim their budgets. That means there are fewer D.H.S. employees in the local field offices to handle the growing work load.
"So, if you’re applying or seeking assistance from our offices, we’re asking you have just a little patience," Munns said. "We’re under stress too." The number of Iowans receiving Food Stamps has increased 15% in the last year.