Participation in foods stamps is up in recent years in Illinois.  This is from the American Community Survey published by the U.S. Census Bureau, which finds 564,185 households used food stamps at some point from 2009-13 – a 19.5 percent increase from the 471,843 in the 2007-11 survey.  “It’s interesting to look at the 2009-2013 data because that’s really when we were hit with the recession, and as we’re trying to recover and unemployment is going down, there’s still a need to address hunger, and there are still too many Illinois residents living in poverty,” says Katie Klus, child nutrition coordinator for the Illinois Hunger Coalition.
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She says the way to get people off food stamps is for wages to go up, either through a higher minimum wage, or market conditions in a stronger economy.  Klus says the information in the American Community Survey will be useful because federal nutrition programs, including school meals, will be up for reauthorization when the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 expires on Sept. 30, 2015, so reauthorization will be debated in Congress next year.
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