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Food Bank Opens Monthly Sign Up Center for Food Stamps At City Hall

Councilwoman Marti Emerald and Mitch Mitchell, spokesman for the San Diego Food Bank, talk during the kickoff of the food stamp project on June 10, 2010.
Alison St John
Councilwoman Marti Emerald and Mitch Mitchell, spokesman for the San Diego Food Bank, talk during the kickoff of the food stamp project on June 10, 2010.

The San Diego Food Bank set up a food stamp sign-up clinic outside San Diego City Hall Thursday.

The city council and the food bank are working together to get more people signed up for the federally funded program.

City councilmember Marti Emerald has criticized San Diego County for managing the program poorly.

She says the sign up clinic will help speed up the application process and make it easier to qualify.

"This offers folks an opportunity to just sit down and find out if they qualify," she said, "They get pre-qualified and then start the application process here. Then the food bank will take those applications and get them into the County directly, so that these people don't have to walk them through, and help get them into the system quicker."

A recent study by the Food Research and Action Center found nearly two-thirds of the people eligible for food stamps in San Diego are NOT enrolled. The national non-profit's study found San Diego's food stamp participation rate was the lowest of the nation's 25 largest urban areas.