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More Suburbanites Using Food Stamps

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

In better times, when people felt flush, blackjack dealer Linette Fawkes could count on making as much as $80,000 a year in the once-humming casino where she works.

The 38-year-old unmarried mother of four boys from Downingtown could easily afford her three-bedroom, $1,000 apartment appointed with leather furniture, eclectic art, and a Jacuzzi.

But fewer people are willing to fling around betting chips in a time of tight dollars. As a result, Fawkes’ work hours have been cut back so drastically – some weeks to just 10 hours – that she can’t pay for heating oil and must move soon.

Recently, she had no choice but to apply for food stamps to help feed her sons, ages 3 through 18.

“It’s not fair,” she said one afternoon, folding laundry in her frigid living room at a time when she would normally be working. “This has become so frustrating for me and my kids.”

Not readily associated with the townships and boroughs outside Philadelphia, food stamps are becoming more commonplace as the recession that economists said was over still manages to disrupt and confound everyday life.

“Areas where you wouldn’t expect food stamps to be have increasing difficulties,” said Temple University sociologist David Elesh, a coprincipal investigator of Temple’s Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project. “Among well-off populations along Routes 30 or 202, you’re seeing substantial growth in the percentage of households on food stamps. The recession continues to damage people’s quality of life. People almost everywhere are hurting.”

(Read full story from the Inquirer)

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