Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Food stamp retailers growing nationwide; Restaurants next?

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TWC News: Food stamp retailers growing nationwide; Restaurants next?
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CHARLOTTE -- It's becoming easier for people to use food stamps and find retailers that accept them. A recent report shows the number of food stamp or SNAP authorized retailers is growing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that in 2010 the number of retailer participating in supplemental nutrition assistance program grew more than 10 percent compared to the year before. The organization reports in 2009 there were more than 193,000 retailers in the U.S. compared to 216,000 in 2010.

A spokesperson with the USDA says that trend has a lot do with the acceptance of different types of retailers like some gas stations, discount stores and farmers markets like Norman Simpson's.

“I see it as a good thing,” said Simpson. “There are a lot of families that are going through some hard times now.”

In some states, fast food franchises accept food assistance cards. Restaurants in North Carolina aren't allowed to participate.

Yum!, the company that helps manage franchises like KFC and Taco Bell wouldn't mind seeing that change.

In a statement to News 14 Carolina a spokesperson wrote:

“It makes perfect sense to expand a program that's working well in California, Arizona and Michigan, enabling the homeless, elderly and disabled to purchase prepared meals with snap benefits in a restaurant environment just as they can purchase ingredients in a supermarket.”

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