by Scott Arnold
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New numbers reveal one out of six Tennesseans are on food stamps. For many, the extra help they get from the government to put food on the table still isn't enough.
The cost of living has increased, and there's record unemployment in the state. Since 2008 an additional 350,000 people are now on food stamps.
In Davidson and Rutherford Counties, one out of six people are on food stamps. In Montgomery County, it's one in seven. In Putnam and Maury Counties the situation is even worse, with one out of five people on food stamps.
For Kelly Pechawer, stretching $650 in monthly food stamp benefits is tough to support a family of four.
Like a lot of people, Pechawer goes to the Martha O'Bryan Center food bank to get some extra help at the end of the month.
As the number of people on food stamps rises, so does the number of people needing help from the Martha O'Bryan Center. They have seen a 63 percent increase in the number of people they helped last year.
Going to the food bank could be the new norm, no matter if you are on food stamps or not.
"There are families out there that are losing jobs every day, and they are not considered poor, but they are middle class or upper middle class. They've lost their jobs so the longer they are unemployed, they need to find assistance," says Joan Van Reece who works at the center.
Over 46 million Americans are on food stamps, which is about 15 percent of the population.