Close to 17,000 receiving gov't food aid in Valley, more applying

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

More than 46.6 million people across the country are receiving government food assistance according to new numbers from June of this year.

Colorado saw the eighth biggest increase in people needing food assistance from last June, jumping 6.4 percent. That's according to the Food Research and Action Center. Locally, we're also continuing to see these numbers rise as buying food gets more difficult for some.

She never really thought it would be her, but when you add up rent, utilities and caring for her little one, some things are harder to buy.

"I never thought I would have to [apply for food assistance]," Grand Junction resident Santana Kelly said.

Kelly has applied for food assistance twice now.

"I tried applying when I was six months pregnant with my son. I was working and going to school at the time and I was denied," Kelly said.

She applied again when she was no longer working and on maternity leave from school, but again, she was told no.

"It seems like you have to put you're homeless, or you have to do this and that to even get food stamps, you have to lie to get food stamps," Kelly said.

Numbers show there are many more like her in Mesa County.

"We continue to see an upswing in the number of applications and our caseload here in Mesa County," Mesa County Health Department spokesperson Karen Martsolf said.

In July, there were 668 food assistance applications turned in to the Mesa County Health Department. Compare that with pre-recession numbers in July of 2007, just 343 applications. This month, there were just over 7,800 food assistance caseloads in the county, a number that has increased steadily since the 3,500 caseloads in August of 2007.

"That number of cases equates to a lot more people because a case represents a household," Martsolf explained.

That means there are an estimated 17,000 people receiving food assistance in Mesa County, an upward trend that matches both the state and national growth in government food aid. Some reasons point to the economy.

"A lot of people have lost their jobs; a lot of people quit and couldn't find a job because of the economy,” Kelly said.

The Mesa County Health Department says its caseloads run parallel with the economy, so this upward trend is no surprise. Instead, it's a trend many are hoping will turn around soon.

The county says many of the people who are applying for food assistance now are people who have never needed public assistance before. Since June of 2007, the number of people in our state needing food assistance has grown 96.7 percent.

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 10, 2012 at 06:55 AM
    Is there really that many beaners in happy valley?
  • by Anonymous on Sep 7, 2012 at 08:47 AM
    Gj, home of service related jobs that do not pay squat. It is not as much of a reflection of the economy but a reflection of the grand junction low paying jobs. Almost anywhere else you will make more than you do in gj for the same job, that is why if you want to make it, you are forced to leave gj.
  • by justiceifucanbuyit on Sep 7, 2012 at 03:39 AM
    17,000? That must just be Clifton, what about GJ?
  • by justice2 Location: gj on Sep 6, 2012 at 02:16 PM
    What is the percentage of single mothers collecting foodstamps? What percentage of their children end up in prison? Do prison guard jobs help the economy? Pelosi and Obama think it does.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2012 at 07:07 PM in reply to justice2
      Do you read what you write? Is your point that Obama impregnated women or that he doesn't support social programs for at risk families? I present you typical angry conservative with nothing but verbal diarrhea .
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:35 AM in reply to
        you hit the nail right on the head
  • by Rob Location: GJ on Sep 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM
    17,000 In my book looks like 20% of the valley. If this is the case then our un-emplyment rate should be aroud 25 to 30% not 9% Who is lying to who here?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2012 at 01:10 PM in reply to Rob
      You can be working and still qualify for food benefits.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2012 at 07:01 PM in reply to Rob
      There are people who work and still can't afford food. Heard of work requirements in this program? You can be an airline pilot and not bring money for basic needs.
      • reply
        by Rob on Sep 7, 2012 at 08:31 AM in reply to
        Are you an idiot? If an air line pilot can't pay for the basics, who can?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Sep 7, 2012 at 02:54 PM in reply to Rob
          Idiot would call other people idiots without bothering to spend 10 seconds researching the issue at hand. pilot salary I'm making 5x the money of some of those folks without taking responsibility for people's lives.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 7, 2012 at 11:36 AM in reply to Rob
      what is the source of your data? Your small brain?
  • by JJ Location: GJ on Sep 5, 2012 at 08:25 PM
    I support helping the needy, I oppose supporting the lazy, PERIOD. And believe me, there are more lazy out there than needy! Welfare has become a way of life for way too many...
  • by troof on Sep 5, 2012 at 07:57 PM
    Translation: There are several RINOs in this town who bash government with their mouths but accept government payola with two open arms. Hypocrites.
  • by SAM Location: Grand Junction on Sep 5, 2012 at 07:51 PM
    I guess these people are not better off today than they were 4 years ago. How anyone could think that anyone or anything is better off today than it was 4 years ago is beyond me.
    • reply
      by troof on Sep 5, 2012 at 07:58 PM in reply to SAM
      I am Sam but realize in the grand scheme of things that many aren't.
  • by JustinD on Sep 5, 2012 at 07:11 PM
    This is great news since this is one of the most effective economic stimulus programs created. Thanks Obama! 4 more years and I bet he can double it to 90 million plus people on the program. Then we'll really be getting out of the Bush recession.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 5, 2012 at 08:10 PM in reply to JustinD
      Where do you think the government gets money? You are obviously a product of the public school system. Right out of a recession and smack dab into a socialist country that will go extinct!
      • reply
        by urclueless on Sep 5, 2012 at 08:41 PM in reply to
        No matter who is President, R or D, we are socialist. Medicare, medicaid, farm subsidies, industrial subsidies, student loans, the list goes on. The irony is that many people think that if Romney is president this will change; guess again. There is a one party system in the US that is masked as two parties and unfortunately all the partisans are too clueless as they sip the koolaid their party serves them.
        • reply
          by Nun on Sep 5, 2012 at 09:26 PM in reply to urclueless
          At least with Republicans we could have jobs to pay for all the socialist entittlement programs
        • reply
          by urclueless on Sep 5, 2012 at 10:04 PM in reply to urclueless
          Keep sipping, you're playing right into their hands.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2012 at 05:45 AM in reply to urclueless
          So I guess you are voting for Ron Paul? Like that is an answer! Or do you even vote? Sounds like you have just given up.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2012 at 06:57 PM in reply to urclueless
          Democrats want more social programs for poor, republicans want less taxes for rich. Nobody want sacrifices so numbers don't add up. Welcome national debt!
  • by Spanky on Sep 5, 2012 at 06:25 PM
    I'm not gonna bash on this program because it is needed for some people and I'm happy to pay for those few. BUT, how many of us can name more people on it that shouldn't be than should be.
    • reply
      by Luke on Sep 5, 2012 at 09:22 PM in reply to Spanky
      How many on the program are illegals?
      • reply
        by urclueless on Sep 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM in reply to Luke
        The illegals given amnesty by the conservative saint Reagan and later hired illigally by many Republicans or the illegals who've been coddled by the Democrats for votes and increased government? Once again, both parties are shafting us.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2012 at 12:53 AM in reply to urclueless
          Don't recall the repubs doing it for votes. That's the difference.
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