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Food stamp demand doubles in Gloucester

Applications for the SNAP program, formerly called food stamps, have seen a 96 percent increase over the past two years, said Beth S. Barry, director of the Gloucester Department of Social Services.

Total households in the county receiving SNAP benefits as of Oct. 31, 2010 were 1,931, Barry said Nov. 19. Gloucester Social Services receives more than 110 new applications for SNAP each month, with roughly 75 percent of those being approved and about one-quarter of the applicants not meeting the program criteria. SNAP, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, is administered using regulated plastic cards to which the appropriate allotment can be added each month.

In some cases, persons are abusing SNAP, Barry said, trying to let somebody use their eligibility card for food, while the cardholder is paid cash to purchase non-SNAP items such as alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.

To help stretch SNAP recipients’ budgets, a nutritionist with Gloucester Extension visits ...

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