JOPLIN, MO.--- Missouri makes it harder for the state's neediest residents to receive food stamps. Advocates for the poor believe a lot of it has to do with politics.
"Well, part of it, of course, is the legislation that was started by the Obama leadership in our country. Benefits being cut back at every turn and Obamacare being lifted up and exalted," said Georgia Jones, Souls Harbor's Executive Director.
Georgia Jones is Souls Harbor's executive director. She says the stricter rules include a new level of household income to qualify and a decrease in number of stamps received.
"It's sometimes unfortunate because a few have spoiled the system, that you have to really start laying down rules and regulations," said Jones.
However, this is affecting hundreds of area families and individuals who really do need financial help to put food on the table.
"We're trying to figure out how to be wiser in our distribution of food boxes because of these things," said Jones.
Jones tells us the restrictions raise pressure for local food pantries. Although they're doing well on canned goods, the meat products are running low.
"You're like looking at the little shirt tale full of chicken you might have in the freezer, and how do you distribute it between this family of 6 or 7 and this family of 2 or 4," said Jones.
Jones believes the cut backs and the request for food will only increase, but local food pantries are working together to not turn families or individuals away.
"Souls Harbor, Crosslines, Watered Gardens, Salvation Army, I believe all four of us will be doing everything we can to meet the need as it comes along," said Jones.
The state saw a 10.5% decrease in participants over the past five years, while other states had increased participation.
Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.