Fighting hunger in Walla Walla
Kate Rambo, manager of the Pantry Shelf Food Bank, and Pat Hobkirk, a volunteer, weigh and sort incoming oranges. Pantry Shelf is one of three food banks in Walla Walla, and allows people to come get food once every 30 days. In general, more people come towards the end of the month, when food stamp benefits and other forms of assistance are running out. Feeding children during the summer is also problematic for many families, who rely on free or reduced price school breakfasts and lunches to get by. Rambo said most of her clients have jobs with sub-living wages. “A lot of them work where they sell food,” she said. “That’s what really bothers me.”
The entrance to the Department of Social and Health Services, where people can apply for food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, more commonly known as welfare, and other government assistance programs. In the state of Washington, individuals and families making 200 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Guideline net income are eligible for benefits, which are a maximum of $200 for an individual or $668 for a family of four per month. Food stamps can be used to purchase any food products other than prepared foods.
These coupons were redeemed by a single customer in one transaction at a Walla Walla grocery store. The customer said that she often buys multiple copies of newspapers so she can save more money on her groceries. According to the store manager, she sees anywhere from $40 to $120 in manufacturer’s coupons redeemed in a single day, and the number has gone up significantly since the recession started.
A typical basket of items that can be purchased on a Women, Infants and Children check. The Women, Infants and Children program designed to provide nutritious foods to low-income children and pregnant or nursing mothers. Recipients are issued checks which are valid for a month and can be used to buy specific types of food. Typical items include cereal, whole grain bread, juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, baby food and infant formula. Some program checks can also be used exclusively at farmers’ markets.