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Kan. to stop using federal food stamp grant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A Kansas social services agency is ending its practice of using federal grant funds to encourage low-income residents to enroll in the food stamp program.

Theresa Freed, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, tells the Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1bb8jNT ) that the decision is consistent with the state's position that finding a job is a better than seeking short-term assistance.

"We simply do not believe taxpayer dollars should be used to recruit people to be on welfare," Freed said.

The grant program awarded federal funds to five groups across Kansas that used it to help low-income residents apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The groups were notified by the state on Sept. 30, one day before the grants were to be renewed. Groups will have to find alternative funding sources to continue their outreach.

One group, Catholic Social Services in Dodge City, was to receive $14,506 in grant funds. Debbie Snapp, the organization's director, called Freed's description of the assistance program as "unfortunate."

Snapp said most people who receive food assistance in southwest Kansas are employed at low-wage jobs and use the assistance temporarily.

"The majority of people are working, or they are single moms with small children. In recent years, we've seen a lot more families come in. If you are hungry, you need help," Snapp said.

Nearly 320,000 Kansas residents receive food stamps, of which about half are children.

Snapp said the organization would find other funds to continue doing outreach, but said the state's decision represented a trend of not helping people to learn about what assistance is available.

Other groups losing funds are Rice County, $16,267; U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Bank, Wichita, $13,819; Harvesters, Kansas City, $14,314; and Community Access, Independence, $12,621.

Freed said Kansas joins South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming in declining to use federal funds to do program outreach.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com