DHSS announces new food stamp distribution schedule
The plans of several local food stamp recipients who were hoping to pick up their food vouchers this past Tuesday to stock up on groceries and buy food and drinks for their New Year’s celebration parties hit a snag when the American Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program (ASNAP), which administers the local food stamp program, announced a new distribution schedule for this month.
Some food stamp recipients told Samoa News they didn’t know there was a change in distribution dates, and they went to the ASNAP office anyway, only to be told that a new distribution schedule is in effect for January 2014.
According to the new schedule, pick-up dates are as follows:
Monday, January 6: Recipients with last names beginning with letters T, U.
Tuesday, January 7: Recipient with last names beginning with letters A, B, C, D, E, F
Wednesday, January 8: Recipients with last names beginning with letters G, H, I, J, K, L
Thursday, January 9: Recipients with last names beginning with letters M, N,O, P, Q, R
Friday, January 10: Recipients with last names beginning with letters S, V, W, X, Y, Z
The new distribution schedule comes after Dept. of Human and Social Services director Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona announced that benefits for all recipients of the American Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program (ASNAP) will be reduced by 13% effective January 2014. (See full story in Friday, Dec. 27 issue of Samoa News).
A statement from DHSS said, “this action is necessary due to a 5% reduction in federal funding for the ASNAP for fiscal year 2014.”
On average, DHSS pays out over $1 million every month between food stamps and WIC checks.
Director Taeaoafua extends his appreciation to the people of American Samoa, particularly to the ASNAP recipients for their understanding of the need to implement this reduction in benefits, especially given the continued poor economic conditions in the territory.
Any recipient, authorized representative of an ASNAP recipient, or a concerned member of the community needing additional information is asked to contact Josie Lutali at 633-7720 or visit an eligibility worker (caseworker) at the ASNAP office in Utulei across from the DDW Restaurant.