KSDK -- The number of food stamps issued to Missouri citizens has reached a record high this year.
As of January 2009, nearly one million residents have received food stamps totaling some $82,668,877 in aid. The number of people in need has nearly doubled since January 2001, when only 446,585 Missourians received food stamps.
Food pantries like Circle of Concern are also seeing a staggering increase in their influx of traffic. In January 2009, Circle of Concern fed more people than in any month in the pantry's history, reaching a total of 1,523 people.
This February's food pantry numbers are also expected to top those of last year's, with a speculated rise of 25 percent to 30 percent. This increase in percentage is likely to significantly diminish pantry funds.
Circle director Glenn Koenen is aware of the financial challenges in the current economy.
"I expect our friends at other pantries are going to be facing hard choices too as we all try to stretch our food and our dollars," Koenen said.
While Koenen's organization initially expected to feed about 18,000 area residents this year, that number is now expected to reach upwards of 20,000. By the end of 2009, Koenen believes that food stamps could be distributed to some 1.2 million people.
The statistics for this January's food stamp totals are as follows:
State total: 995,874
St. Louis City: 120,310
St. Louis County: 109, 042
Jefferson County: 25,130
St. Charles County: 19,447
Jackson County: 128,533
Visit www.dss.mo.gov/re for more statistics from The Monthly Management Report.
To learn more about the Circle of Concern food pantry, visit www.circleofconcern.org or call 636-861-2623. Food may also be delivered to the following address:
Circle of Concern
112 St.Louis Avenue
Valley Park, MO. 63088
Drop offs are allowed on weekdays until 3:30 p.m. and on Saturday mornings.