JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Applying for the food stamp program was one of the hardest things Lionel Orta, 38, has ever had to do.
He came to Jacksonville from Puerto Rico five years ago with his wife and three kids. When the recession hit he lost his job as an assistant manager at a local sales company.
"As a man, as a father, when you work hard to pull your family together and when you lose your work it's very difficult," said Lionel Orta.
Orta now depends on food stamps to feed his children.
"It helps, we have dinner on the table and that's all that matters that they're happy," said Orta.
Stories like these are not uncommon in Duval County where nearly 32% of children are helped by food stamps.
"We're talking one out every three kids in Duval County who are being helped by food stamp benefits," John Harrell, Dept. of Children and Families spokesperson.
The need is even greater in Putnam County where 47.50% of children depend on food stamps.
"The reason why this may be going on is you have people who are working but they're not getting enough hours," said Harrell.
According to DCF, Florida is second only to Alaska when it comes to accuracy in processing food assistance for those in need. In fact, the state has received 40 million dollars in bonuses for processing these food stamps accurately.
"Things are improving in the economy you have seen the unemployment rate go down but there still are a lot of families who are affected," said Harrell.
While people like Orta continue to search for a job, they are thankful to have a program like this to help their families get by.