Record number of Oklahomans receiving food assistance program

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A growing number of Oklahomans are asking for government help to put food on the table.

Enrollment in the food stamp program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is at an all-time high.

In September, 637,434 Oklahomans received food benefits.

That's 8,500 more people than the previous record enrollment in August.

In addition, DHS says additional federal funding for SNAP, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is about to run out.

That means starting November first, a family of four with no income will lose $36 per month - the equivalent of 21 fewer meals per month.

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello says part of the problem is community activists encouraging people to get on the SNAP program.

It's an entitlement culture that Costello believes is growing.

"We cannot afford it. It cannot continue to expand," he said Tuesday, "and if people think that America can prosper while so few people are actively pursuing full employment, they're mistaken."

There is a new law - House Bill 1909 - which requires able-bodied adults under the age of 50, who do not have minor children, to work at least 35 hours per week in order to receive SNAP.

DHS says they do not know how SNAP will be affected if the government shutdown extends past November first.

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