Food assistance payments will rise April 1

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Starting next month, more than one million Michigan residents on the federal food assistance program will have more to spend on groceries. The boost is part of the federal economic stimulus package.

On April 1, eligible families will automatically receive a 13.6 percent increase in their food assistance benefits.

That works out to about $80 more each month for a family of four.

Jane Marshall is executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. She says food banks distribute some 80 million pounds of food each year but the need is greater than they can handle.

"We can only give out what we bring in, and in our state we probably have about a 100 million pound hole each year that needs to be filled by the food banks," Marshall says. "That much food is needed in order to help families get through a difficult time.

The increase is expected to be a revenue generator for the state.

Officials say every $5 worth of benefits spent in communities creates $9.20 in economic activity.