More and more Tennesseans are turning to food stamps to make ends meet. Nearly 1,186,000 Tennesseans, or more than one in six residents, currently receive some kind of food stamp assistance and the number continues to climb.
At the start of each month, the lines are always long at the Department of Human Services' family assistance office just north of downtown. News 2 caught up with Kathy Bruce while she waited in line on Monday.
Her husband suffered a massive heart attack two weeks ago and will be out of work for the next two months. "We can't live on my paycheck alone so I thought we could at least get help with food," she told News 2. "When you are down and out, you are willing to go to any lengths to get what you need."
For Amanda Higgins and her 16-month-old son, food stamps are their sole means of support.
"[Food stamps are] extremely important," she told News 2. "My son has got to have milk, my son has to have rice, snacks, all the things to eat, and so do I, you can see I am a pretty thin person."
The staggering 1,186,000 Tennesseans on food stamps today is some 300,000 more than just two years ago. Between mid-2007 and mid-2009, the number of people receiving assistance grew 66%.
Residents can apply for food stamps at the facility located at 1000 2nd Avenue North or on the Department of Human Services' Web site.