Oct 12, 2010 6:49 PM by Stacy Neumann
El Paso County Department of Human Services reports nearly 60,000 people got food assistance last month. The number of cases has risen for the last 24 months.
Al Johnson is the father of three girls and said he had no choice but to apply for help.
"I'm self employed right now and I'm hungry," said Johnson.
Arturo Serrano said it is the biggest increase the program has ever faced and amounts to almost 10% of the county's population needing aid. The office has hired temporary workers to help with the case load and is constantly working on streamlining their processes.
Serrano said, "People have been going on the program due to various reasons. Some people losing their jobs...some losing unemployment...others coming in from out of state....so we've seen all those dynamics in El Paso County."
Serrano expects the numbers will go even higher as the holidays approach. Al Johnson said he's taking the practical approach by focusing on his family and school while getting the help he needs.
Johnson said, "Regardless of how bad times are, you gotta weather throughout the storm."
It takes about seven days to process expedited food assistance cases and about 30 days for a standard case.