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food stamps

Volunteers take on food challenge

By Julie Wurth/The News-Gazette URBANA — They can give up meat, they can give up snacks, but Lord help them if you take away their coffee.

Volunteers taking part in a challenge to eat on a food stamp budget for a week are finding the hardest part may be giving up their morning caffeine.

Brenda Koester didn’t even try.

“I’m doing a cheater’s version,” Koester, coordinator of the University of Illinois Family Resiliency Center, said Monday morning, the second day of her challenge. She is simply not counting her daily cup of Strawberry Fields coffee.

The News-Gazette/Jim Hires, left, Exec. Director and Cheryl Precious, director of

Convenience stores netting more local food stamp dollars as usage soars

By Pam G. Dempsey — Champaign native Miesha Jones spends the $315 a month she receives in federal food assistance benefits at Sam’s Club.

Jones, the single mother of a three-year-old daughter, usually takes her monthly shopping trip to the bulk food club or, on occasion, Wal-Mart.

CU-CitizenAccess/The number of convenience stores accepting food stamps has increased in Champaign County over the past three years. The use of food stamp spending at these stores has some health officials worried over the lack of fresh and nutritional food choices.

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