Mississippi’s new policy requiring food stamps (SNAP) recipients to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week has resulted in an increase in the number of people volunteering.
“I’m working here as part of the SNAP program. For doing 40 hours a month in exchange for keeping my food stamps,” one volunteer named Percy Fayard told WLOX.
Fayard said he’s constantly searching for a job. He says it’s not about politics for him, and he’s willing to volunteer for long hours if it means keeping his food stamps benefits.
“I’m not as much focused on consequences of a politician’s decision or a policy change,” Fayard said. “I’m more focused on my reality and my stance right now, and I’m actually just trying to get by day to day.”
Mississippi’s new state work requirement goes into effect March 30.
“Really, it’s more of a job opportunity to help you get out into the job world, and being up here helps you out a lot,” said another volunteer, Sharon House.
According to census data, 580,512 or about 19% of Mississippians currently benefit from food stamps.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson