Local News

Rally Protests Welfare Reforms

Posted March 2, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Approximately 300 people made their way through downtown Raleigh Saturday to protest welfare reforms, especially one that cuts off food stamps to childless adults who don't have jobs.

That food stamp decision drew special fire because Gov. Jim Hunt could have extended such benefits for another year, under federal guidelines. Instead, Hunt opted to limit childless, able-bodied adults to three months of food stamps if they don't find work or perform at least 20 hours of community service per week.

Shirley McClain of the N.C. Hunger Network was quoted inThe News & Observeras saying that the governor has "yanked the life line out of the mouths of thousands of people."

Marchers were urged to call Hunt on Monday morning to register their displeasure, and petitions were circulated through the crowd.

The protesters want Gov. Hunt to ask the federal government for a waiver that would allow people in the 37 poorest of North Carolina's 100 counties to keep getting food stamps while they continued to look for work. Hunt has already sought an exemption for the state's seven poorest counties.