Roanoke, Va. — Living paycheck to paycheck. Does this describe you, your neighbor or someone close to you? It's a daily struggle for millions of people across the country and thousands of families in our region. In Virginia, if you make less than $2,000 a month you can qualify for food stamps.
The constant beeping tells grocery store cashiers what day it is.
"We're always busy on the first of the month," says Rett Ward, a grocery store owner in Roanoke.
For many shoppers, the first of the month means time to cash in with money from Virginia's Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP. You may know it as food stamps.
In October 2007 a little more than 14,000 people in Roanoke City received SNAP benefits. Four years later that number tops more than 23,000 thousand.
"Well it's just a tremendous growth that we've had," says Steve Martin who works for Roanoke's Social Services Department as the Chief Benefits Manager.