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Skokomish Indian Tribe, Washington

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While the state struggles to make food stamps readily available to low-income families as the region braces for a possible recession that could increase demand, the tribe is having trouble giving away chum and coho salmon, harvested primarily for eggs worth $5 a pound. With salmon prices too low for profit, tribal fishers could supply fish from late July to mid-November, said Dave Herrera, tribal fisheries manager This is the first year the tribe has made fish available to social service agencies and food banks. So what is the problem? Storage is limited, said the commanding officer of The Salvation Army. And volunteers generally are not available on short notice to pick up fish or clean them. However, the director of the Refugee and Immigrant Service Center in Olympia, said he'd be by for a load. Like other parts of the nation, Washington is finding contributions to food banks down in some areas and increasing numbers of needy visitors. A coalition of anti-hunger groups and many states, including Washington, is lobbying for an increase in the amount of food stamps available for the needy, simplification of program rules and repeal of a 1996 decision to deny aid to legal immigrants.

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