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Emergency food stamps available

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Families affected by the recent floodings in Clay County not currently receiving food stamps have until the end of the business day today to apply to receive food stamps according to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

"Individuals who need assistance should contact the Clay County office," said FSSA Representative Kelly Lucas.

Lucas said the Clay County office is located at 1015 E. National Ave. To apply, the office can be visited 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Families who currently receive food stamps have until Thursday, Feb. 10, to apply for replacement food stamps.

Sixty-two counties in-cluding Clay, Vigo, Putnam, Sullivan, Greene, Owen and Parke counties have all been declared disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Although families in 62 counties already qualify for assistance, she said at least 25 other counties in Indiana have suffered damages, but FEMA is still determining whether to label these areas as disaster areas.

In Clay County, Kay Hart is doing her best to make sure families get whatever they need by coordinating donations.

Last January the donations Hart received from area churches, civic organizations and elementary schools helped 12 families. Last month, donations increased over 50 percent aiding 29 families, she said.

When families need help, Hart offers them a personal choice in the donations. She said most of the time she can offer items such as cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, hot dogs, chicken, bologna, ground meat, salmon, tuna, dry milk, pudding and peanut butter.

Churches have also donated practical items such as toiletries that can also be given to those in need, she said.

"They've been very, very good about donating," she said.

Hart said churches are predicting that numbers will continue to rise from the 325 families they help each year.

The need is great for these families.

Lucas said the food stamps are beneficial for these families because it frees up their money for other needs.

"The damage was significant... they do need this extra help," Lucas said.

How long the food stamps will last depends on the demand, Lucas said.

"If a lot of people sign up it may not last as long," she said.

She said the finances for this assistance come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The department sets aside money for disasters and they gives it to the FSSA to distribute. The assistance ranges from $150 to $850 per family depending on the size, she said.

For more information FEMA can be contacted at 1-800-621-3362 and Hart can be contacted at (812) 939-2992.



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