CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - According to the Department of Social Services, more Missourians are signing up for food stamps.
Judy Gayer of Cape Girardeau says she can't imagine getting by without her EBT card. It replaced the traditional food stamps. It's a program Gayer's been on for 15 years.
At the Cape Girardeau Save A lot, managers say food stamps are the norm.
"In my opinion food stamps are on the rise," said Sabrina Shaffer. "A lot of customers use them everyday."
In fact, according to the Department of Social Services the number of low-income people receiving food assistance in Missouri continues to rise.
More than 944,000 people received food stamps this May. That's more than 35,000 from around this time last year.
"The amount of food stamps issued nationally has increased more than 430% in the past 10 years," said Seth Bundy-Missouri Department of Social Services Spokesman. "I think a lot of that can be tied to the national recession. Here in Missouri numbers are smaller, but are still significant."
He says numbers in the Show Me State have more than doubled in the last 10 years. While the economy may be a factor, there's a bigger concern.
"They need to really cut down on who they're giving it to," said Judy Gayer. "I think it's abused."
For grocery store managers and clerks who see it everyday, there's some frustration over what people are buying.
"I wish they would use it for things that are more nutritious for their families, not Little Debbie's or boxed pizzas."
Like it or not, the federal program remains. It's something Social Services believes is helping those rocked by the recession.
"We're just glad that there are tools in place to keep food on the table as they work towards a better position," said Bundy.
There is also some growth reported in the Missouri Medicaid program. The Department of Social Services reports a 7% increase in the health care program from May of 2009.