September 10, 2007
ATLANTA (GA) – Although Georgia has seen mostly increases in its Food Stamp Participation Rate over the last few years, officials at the Division of Family and Children Services are continuing to look for ways to let more qualified Georgians know that they are eligible for the federally funded program.
"The Food Stamp Program is the first line of defense against hunger for poor families," said Mary Dean Harvey, director of the Division of Family and Children Services, the state office which oversees the program. "Most needy people are aware of the program, but many do not know they are eligible and we are engaging in a multifaceted outreach approach to inform them, particularly the elderly and the Latino community," she said.
The elderly and Hispanics have the lowest participation rate of 7 percent and 4 percent, respectively. DFCS officials say the lack of participation among the elderly is typically pride and the "stigma" often associated with welfare. For Latinos it tends to be language barriers and simply lack of knowledge about eligibility. To that end, the Division has established partnerships with the Latin American Association, faith-based organizations, local health departments, and businesses that cater to the Latino population. The state’s outreach to the elderly, include collaborations with a network of senior centers through the Aging Services Agency as well as partnerships with local churches. The state is also in the early planning stages of Georgia GOLD, (Georgia’s On-line Delivery) project to improve general accessibility to the Food Stamp Program. The project is being designed specifically to provide information and online application for the non-participating eligible Georgians. The state expects to launch the project next year. Currently more than 947,000 people receive food stamps per month in the state. About 52 percent of the food stamp benefits go toward children and 41 percent toward adults.
Persons interested in applying for food stamps should call their local Department of Family and Children Services.
For information contact:
Beverly Jones, 404-657-1387