A report put out by the USDA shows that, in 2012, 60% of the non-elderly individuals receiving food stamps were women. This reports falls right after Obama's recent speech regarding women's equal pay in the work force and many women's rights movements happening around the country.
So why are women surpassing men in the SNAP food stamp program? The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says, more often than not, the woman is the head of the houshold that receives food stamps. In fact, 80% of the households that receive food stamps are led by a woman.
Linda Edwards Gockel, Press Officer at Texas Health and Human Services, said that there will be far more women receiving benefits from these programs because typically they have more minor independence with children and are able to receive benefits for longer periods of time. If a person does not have any dependents, they must meet qualifications, and can only use the benefits for a three month period.
"Yes we have noticed women that have come in, and they're asking for application assistance with our food stamp outreach coordinator. Just in general observation with people coming in, a lot have been women. So it matches up to that stastic that USDA released today, just on strict observation through our doors," said Zach Wilson, Executive Director of the High Plains Food Bank.
There are over 27,000 recipients of food stamps here in Randall and Potter counties.
"More women probably wind up on food stamps than men because more women are in poverty. And that's not necessarily just because of equal pay, it's because we have child care issues or we don't provide enough childcare for women to work the hours they need to work. We have fathers who are not present at home. And I think, statistically, if you look, most people on food stamps tend to have kids and that tends to be the woman taking care of them," said Vicki Wilmarth, attorney for Burdett Morgan Williamson & Boykin, LLP.
At High Plains Food Bank, Wilson says the difference is noticeable between woman who walk in alone and women who walk in with children in tow. However, he says all are welcome and that there is no shame in asking for help.
"People feel as if there's a lot of shame in asking for food or help. We want to give them that help and say, we understand, we know what it's like. We are not here to be an instigator of blame," said Wilson.