Record Number of Oklahomans Receiving Food Stamps
But despite such positive reports, data show many Oklahomans may still be battling the recession.
One in four Oklahomans participated in the federally funded food stamp program for at least one month in FY 2011, according to an editorial in Sunday’s Tulsa World.
In August, 622,911 Oklahomans participated in the program — the highest number since the program began more than 40 years ago, wrote Julie DelCour, the paper’s associate editor.
“Those who claim the recession is easing are not taking into account the thousands on Oklahoma’s food stamp rolls,” DelCour wrote.
The number of Oklahomans on food stamps has increased 84 percent since 2002, DelCour wrote, citing figures from the state Department of Human Services, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
At a meeting last week in Tulsa, DHS Director Howard Hendrick said the state spent $80 million on the food stamp program in August, more than double the $35 million or $40 million Oklahoma averaged per month only four or five years ago.
Oklahoma’s food stamp participation rates add to Hendrick’s worry about a double-dip recession, DelCour wrote.
“I think we are at a huge crossroads,” he told the paper. “A lot depends on what happens in September, October, November and December,” which historically have been high-demand months.