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In our recent series, Out of Reach, we described the gaps in San Diego County’s social welfare safety net. We told you the county has had the lowest food stamps participation rate in the country annually, how hunger continues to be an issue here and about a study that concludes that the low food stamps participation rate stems from problems with the way the county operates.

This morning, the Supportive Parents Information Network, the group that released that study, and another local group, the Caring Council, held a rally at the County Administration Building to echo President Barack Obama’s call to end to childhood hunger by 2015.

Raising awareness about hunger also brings attention to the county’s low food stamps participation rate, said Joni Halpern, SPIN’s executive director.

“We care about food stamp access very much,” Halpern said in an interview Thursday. “We’re not going to let go of it until it gets better.”

Holding signs like one that said “Moms need food stamps for their children,” about 100 volunteers, children and advocates marched around the block and called for improvements in food stamps access to help keep families from going hungry.

Last year, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan to increase food stamps participation and outreach and to add 50,000 more children and seniors to the program by June 2012.

Representatives from the offices of Rep. Bob Filner, Rep. Susan Davis, Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, state Sen. Christine Kehoe, and City Councilman Todd Gloria were also in attendance at the rally.

Leaders from SPIN and the Caring Council plan to have copies of their study delivered to the offices of the Board of Supervisors and top officials at the Health and Human Services Agency, the agency that administers food stamps, Halpern said.

— DAGNY SALAS

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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