Central Florida food-stamp growth 'staggering' — now 1 in 6 relies on help

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About one in every six Central Floridians now relies on food stamps to subsist — a rate that has ballooned by nearly 185% since the start of the recession.

The Florida Department of Children and Families called the increase “staggering.”

In Orange County, the number is even higher, up 198%.

“And what’s most shocking is that these are largely people who haven’t applied for food stamps in the past,” said John Cooper, director of DCF’s 16-county central region. “This is the new face of public assistance.”

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.