The Florida Times-Union reports recently that Food Stamp use has more than doubled in Duval County over the past five years. That grim statistic is twice the national average and is the second highest in a study of 22 cities nationwide.
In the Report, prepared by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), indicates the Food Stamps caseload increased by 131 percent between May 2005 and May 2010. Figures from the Florida Department of Children and Families, which oversees the program, show that has surged even more since May. More than 162,000 people now get help from the program. Jacksonville trailed only Las Vegas nationally.
Most regrettably, the FRAC report finds that although nearly 81% of eligible participants are enrolled in the program, the remaining lack of participation in Jacksonville leaves about $8.3 million each year of unused federal funds “on the table” that could be spent in the local economy.