GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Many families in Mesa County are relying on food stamps for the first time in their lives and Health Department officials say the growing numbers are changing perceptions.
Christine Adamson uses food stamps to provide for her family. "With myself, my husband and our two kids, that actually helps with the amount of groceries we need every month," says Adamson.
She was laid off in September and now the family of four relies on about $400 a month in food stamps. "Food stamps help with my daughter's snacks for school. Get the kids what they need to eat so they don't go hungry," she says.
Adamson has been on food stamps for a few years now and she's very comfortable using the food assistance program. "You gotta do what you gotta do to get by. If you have to be on food stamps, there's nothing wrong with asking for help," says Adamson.
Now her other family members and friends are following her lead and applying for food stamps, too. "They asked me and I said, 'It's not a big deal, just go in their and do it,'" says Adamson.
And with more families asking for help these days, officials say opinions of the program seem to be changing. "There's often been a misconception that it's those people that are too lazy to work are receiving food assistance and that is simply not what we're seeing come through the doors," says Karen Martsolf of the Mesa County Department of Human Services.
Mesa County currently has more than 4,800 food stamp cases, compared to last year which had 3,700 cases.
"That translates to over 12,000 un-duplicated individuals who are currently receiving food assistance in our community," says Martsolf.
The number of applications have also increased by 65 percent and Martsolf says a lot of that is from people who never thought they would find themselves in this situation.
"We are seeing a wide variety of people coming in for food assistance help. People who we've never seen before," she says.
Like many others on food stamps, Adamson says it's all about getting by. "You're trying to make the best of what the situation is and you just have to do what you have to do sometimes," says Adamson.
If you're having trouble making ends meet, there are a variety of food assistance programs that can help. Just dial 211 or call from your cell phone 244-8400.