When it was first introduced in 1995, the Lone Star card was a way to help low income Texans buy groceries.
Now the program has expanded to offer more choices for card holders. Instead of shopping at a grocery store, Lone Star carriers are able to buy things like bread or milk at their nearby convenient stores.
"I think it’s a good idea for folks who have the food stamp privileges, it will be convenient cause if they want a loaf of bread or bologna or ham,” says Ramses Chester, who uses the Lone Star Card.
Mohammed Azam who works at the Zip-N convenient store in Bryan says there's a different mix of customers that come in. He says they've been taking the lone star card for the past year now and it’s been nothing but positive.
Azam adds, "We get more customers coming in. It sends in more people and not every store accepts food stamps but we do and it helps out business."
About 35 percent of business comes from lone star sales alone. That means one out of every three customers that come in pays with their Lone Star card.
As of January, nearly 13,000 Brazos County residents receive food stamps. Since the card has replaced the paper coupons, it’s cut down on the amount of fraud associated with the food program.
"It attracts additional clients to different retailers but from the client perspective, it makes it easier on folks who receive these benefits have access to the food purchases they can make. There are certainly still limitations the government lays out for what can or can not be purchased when using food stamps," says Jennifer Harris, with the Department of Health and Human Services.
More choices of where to shop are making it easier for those Texans already struggling to make ends meet.
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