Fastest-Growing Program in Nation
Massachusetts, which earlier this decade had the lowest percentage of eligible residents using food stamps, now has the fastest-growing food-stamp program in the country, a dramatic turnaround that state officials attribute to soaring food prices and a simplified application process.
As food and fuel costs continue to rise, the officials say, people who would not normally use food stamps are turning to the federal program to make ends meet.
“I think low-income families are faced and will be faced this winter with the difficult choice of eating or heating a home,” said Patricia Baker, senior policy analyst for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the poor. “We’re seeing prices escalating, and anything that a family can access to help them buy basic food for their families is critical.”
More than 500,000 people statewide received food stamps in April, a 67-percent increase from 2003 and 11 percent more than last year, according to state records.
Read moreFood stamp use soars in Mass