United Way helping the hungry eat more healthily

United Way helping the hungry eat more healthily
SEATTLE -- The number of people relying on food stamps in Washington state has more than doubled in the last two years.

To help meet the growing demand, the United Way of King County is taking on hunger and health at the corner store.

Joseph Munnerlyn is a connoisseur of corner store meals.

"I'm hungry. I'm trying to get something fast, grab me a bag of chips," he said. "Oh, I love it all -- the wings, breasts, burritos, jo jos."

Munnerlyn picks fast and fried over fresh fruit.

"I know it's not healthy, but hard for me to pick up an apple when I only got two bucks and I've got to feed myself for the rest of the day," he said.

The United Way is helping one convenience store in West Seattle fill the nutritious needs of strapped neighbors. There's no grocery store within easy reach for the home-bound or folks without cars. Now, a new refrigeration unit at the store offers space for healthy choices.

"You've got lettuce, limes, lemons, and cucumbers -- stuff that a family can go home and make a salad and a fresh meal for their family," said Lauren McGowan of United Way.

Jose Lopez also buys meals at mini marts.

"No steady work and I don't have no home," said

Lopez says it's not easy eating healthy when he calls a van home.

"I like to have these fruits, but they don't take your food stamps," he said.

To help people like Lopez, the United Way is trying something new, working with the Delridge community in West Seattle to get food stamps accepted in 22 convenience stores over the next few years. The owner of one store says half of his customers ask to use food stamps.

Next week, the United Way of King County kicks off Hunger Action Week to raise hunger awareness. One idea: try to eat 3 healthy meals for $7 a day, the maximum food stamp benefit.