Nearly one in 10 Ohioans now receives food stamps, the highest number in the state's history.
Caseloads have almost doubled just since 2001, with 1.1 million residents now collecting benefits, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Low wages, unemployment and the rising cost of groceries, gasoline and other necessities are to blame for financial hardships facing many Ohio families.
Caseloads have been rising steadily in the past seven years, said Brian Harter, spokesman for the state agency which oversees the food-stamp program.
"Look at unemployment during this time," he said.
Ohio's jobless rate is 5.3 percent, up from 4.4 percent in 2001.
"The economy and loss of manufacturing jobs are at the root of what's going on. But lately (it's) the rising cost of transportation and food -- people who were barely getting by, are not getting by," said Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services.
"It has pressed folks to the edge to have to rely on food stamps."
Advocates estimate another 500,000 Ohioans are eligible but not enrolled in the food-stamp program.
Individuals in households with incomes up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level and with assets no greater than $2,000 in most cases are eligible for food stamps. That's earnings of no more than $22,880 a year for a family of three.
Recipients receive $100 a month. The federal government pays for the benefits while the state covers administrative costs.
But as the price of milk, fruits and other groceries climb, advocates say, recipients can buy less and less with that $100.
"Food stamps provide only about $1 per person, per meal. Who in the world is buying groceries with that?" asked Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank.
On average, food stamps are now providing less than two weeks of groceries.
"There's the presumption that folks have the cash to make up the rest. Well, they don't," Frech said.
Not surprisingly, food pantries and soup kitchens across the state have been reporting record demands. Like the families they serve, they, too, cannot keep pace.
I don't know about you but I can't seem to get out of a grocery store for less than $50 and I try. Since I don't buy a lot of frozen or canned stuff I shop multiple times a week and just for the groceries and stuff we need for the next few days and I still spend more than $50. I don't know all the stats but I would imagine that there are quite a few areas of the country where this is the case or worse. This is the story we need to be talking about in an election year.
And the reason the fine people of Ohio and several other rust belt states will continue to vote against their self interest is because the get all their news and understanding of current events in 15 or 30 minutes of FAUX News everyday.