Health food stores and food stamp programs have been booming since President Donald Trump signed the Affordable Care Act into law, and as the economy recovers, they are becoming more popular.
Georgia has one of the highest rates of food stamp use in the country, at nearly 60 percent.
But, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 5.9 percent of households receive food stamps, and that figure is projected to rise as more people receive them.
“The food stamp program is growing like crazy,” said Michelle Casteel, an Atlanta-based food policy analyst.
“You could have a child who is six, seven years old and be on the food stamp rolls for five months.”
But that doesn’t mean people can’t use them to supplement their incomes.
A food stamp recipient can purchase up to three months’ worth of groceries for his or her family for $1, which can be used to purchase food or clothing, pay for utilities, and buy a variety of other necessities.
In Georgia, food stamp recipients can get food stamps at grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and even at restaurants.
For instance, in Georgia, an individual with a monthly income of $10,000 could receive up to $2,000 in food stamps through the state’s food stamp office.
“There’s not a lot of people who can’t get food from food stamps,” said Casteell.
“It’s not just a temporary benefit, it’s really a permanent benefit.”
One of the biggest benefits of food stamps is the ability to shop at stores that are often cheaper than local retailers.
For example, some grocery chains that have been targeted by the Trump administration include Safeway, Walmart, and Safeway Express.
These retailers can charge an additional 5 percent or more in sales tax on groceries to help subsidize the cost of operating.
Other states are also seeing some of the most significant gains.
The USDA estimates that more than 100,000 people have applied for food stamps in Georgia in the last three months.
“Georgia has been seeing a lot more food stamp applications come in, and the numbers are growing,” said Jennifer Dube, senior vice president of food services for the USDA.
“That means that there’s a lot people out there who can use food stamps.”
Georgia has also seen an uptick in the number of applications for the state program.
According to the USDA, applications for food assistance were up by 25 percent in July and August compared to the same time last year.
“We’ve seen a lot growth in applications, which is good news,” Dube said.
Georgia’s food stamps have also been growing in popularity as well.
According the USDA’s 2016 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the number was nearly 6 million in 2016, up more than 50 percent from the year before.
That’s a big increase from the roughly 2.1 million people receiving food stamps last year, but that still doesn’t account for the millions of people that received SNAP benefits.
“The fact that Georgia has more people receiving SNAP is good,” Dubes said.
“SNAP is really important because it provides a lifeline for people who are struggling.”
But the biggest boost to Georgia’s food program is coming from a program called the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (SNWIC), which has been operating since 2014.
The program, which provides food assistance to families and children in need of free or reduced price meals to help them through a tough economic time, is one of many in the U-S.
The goal of the program is to help low-income families get access to affordable meals.
“People are still trying to make ends meet,” said Dube.
“They need to get their bills paid, and they need to take care of their kids, and this is a good way to help those families.”
Georgia’s SNAP program has expanded rapidly under the Trump Administration.
In 2018, the number had more than doubled from the previous year, to more than 4.5 million people.
“If you look at how the program has grown over the last couple of years, it seems like the SNAP program is doing pretty well,” said Bessie Johnson, a SNAP coordinator with the USDA Office of Supplemental Nutrition Services.
“When you look across the country it seems that it’s becoming a big priority for the Department of Agriculture, and we’ve seen that growth in Georgia.”
Georgia, like many states, is facing an economic recession.
The state is on the verge of a budget shortfall of more than $6 billion, according the USDA estimates.
That means that the food stamps program will need to grow in order to keep up with the demand.
And because the number is growing, more people are applying for the program, even though the number has been trending down.
But Johnson says that there are still plenty of people in Georgia who have the financial means to buy food.
“For the last four or five years, we’ve been seeing some people who could get SNAP food stamps who are