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Food stamps applications in Panhandle up 15%

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Applications for food stamps in Panhandle counties have soared since oil began gushing from the broken BP pipe leak. Since May 1 applications are up 15 percent. The Department of Children and Families is keeping separate data to track people who qualify for food stamps because the oil has destroyed their careers. Don Winstead is the welfare advisor for DCF. He says along with the growing need for food assistance is a growing need for counselors to help families going through hard times.

“Being not only in the food stamp program and other benefit programs but also seen through our mental health program also. One of the things we typically do after a disaster is increase our counseling capacity because people are going to be affected in a variety of ways,” said Winstead.

The number of new applications for food stamps is actually higher in non-coastal Panhandle counties than those on the water. Winstead says that’s the case because many of the people being affected by the spill work near the coast, but can’t afford to live there.

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.

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