MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - A new policy in Mississippi now requires certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to volunteer or work 20 hours a week to receive benefits.
The mandatory Employment and Training Program that went into effect March 30 requires SNAP recipients, who are categorized as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD), to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week to receive benefits.
Christian Services in Hattiesburg is one of the organizations accepting service hours for the Employment and Training program.
Catherine Journs, director of Outreach and Ministry, said the organization is excited to participate in the program.
"Many of the people that receive food stamps feel like they have nothing to offer, so this program gives them an opportunity to either work or actually serve and they get to come here and actually see how valued they are and how they can give back to others, " Journs said.
Christian Services will have two positions available for selected recipients. The recipients will come in every week day to fulfill the 20-hour requirement.
"Looking at integrating them into our normal rotation, so they'll be helping us serve others by cleaning, serving food and even sweeping, " Journs said." Doing things that our regular volunteers do."
WDAM 7 News went to find out what people thought about the new policy. Some people said the policy is a good idea.
"Those who don't have dependents and do not work then they should give back and give some of their time back," Hattiesburg resident Stacey Jackson said.
Others said there should be a bigger push to help adults find paying jobs.
"If they are physically able to work, then they should provide work for them instead of a federal program so that taxpayer monies won't be loss to someone who can go out and get that money," Hattiesburg resident Ronald Hill said.
Journs said the program will help to put individuals on the right path to obtaining a paying job.
"After having to do this program, they might see differently," Journs said. "I can work 20 hours a week. I can go get this job. I am a valued and I am appreciated. I think this may turn them around."
WDAM 7 News created a twitter poll and 92 percent of voters said the new policy is a good idea.