The number of New Jersey residents receiving food stamps has doubled in the past four years and is at its highest level in more than a decade as the nation’s still sputtering economy continues to take its toll on the poorest residents of the Garden State, state and federal data show.

As of September, the most recent data released by the state Department of Human Services, more than 400,000 households and nearly 822,000 people were enrolled in the food stamp program, meaning nearly one out of every 10 residents in New Jersey receives assistance.

Larena Reed a 49-year-old Newark resident, has been on food stamps since 2007. The former county worker, nurse and security officer now spends much of her time tending to her elderly mother, and although she doesn’t like being enrolled in the food stamp program, it’s become a necessity.

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