Senate approves bill requiring training for food stamps - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Senate approves bill requiring training for food stamps

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DALTON, WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - It's dinner time at the Bryant home on Kerr Road.

"If it wasn't for the program, I don't know how I'd feed the kids," says Christy Bryant, serving hotdogs before her children leave for Wednesday night church service.

Christy Bryant and her fiance have four children.

Two years ago they adopted her two nieces.

"I stepped in because they were going to be put up for adoption and the family would never see them again," says Christy.

Her fiance works in construction and is still at work.

Christy, who dropped out of high school in 10th grade, recently landed a part time job at a law firm.

She's enrolled in GED classes, but has to use food stamps to help pay for meals.

She buys in bulk and plans meals days in advance. Still, money is tight.

"We get $350 a month, and we usually spend 300 more," says Christy, when asked what it costs to feed a family of eight.

Wednesday, the Georgia Senate passed a bill that would require food stamp recipients like Christy to earn their GED or take self-development classes.

People under the age of 16, or over 59 would be exempt. So would students, the disabled, those working at least 30 hours a week, and people receiving unemployment benefits.

"I think it's a good law, I really do," says Christy, "some people need a little push to do something like that, instead of just sitting back and getting, getting, getting, and not trying to get anywhere in life."

She's looking forward to the day she doesn't need the help anymore, and says so should others.

"Anything that I have to do to continue as long as I need the help, I'm going to do it," she says, "and anyone should feel that way."

WHAT'S NEXT?

The Department of Human Services would first implement a five-county pilot program, costing $23 million, before taking the initiative statewide.

Statewide implementation is expected to cost $772.

Opponents say the proposal adds a burden on an already strained population.

The bill now moves to the House for its consideration.

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