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Treasure Coast Essay

Link to a Pulitzer Prize

The Washington Post won two Pulitzer Prizes this month.  One went to the newspaper for its coverage of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance program, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.  The other went to reporter Eli Saslow for his series of articles on the $78 billion food stamp program to help those below the poverty line.  One article focused on a recruiter for the Treasure Coast Food Bank, which feeds about 100,000 people each week in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Okeechobee Counties.  Her name is Dillie Nerios.  Her job is to find seniors eligible for food stamps and encourage them to enroll.  Reporter Saslow accompanied Nerios when she drove to a retirement community in St. Lucie County.  Her small SUV was filled with vegetables, fruit and bakery products, which she set up on a table in front of the senior center.  For three hours she distributed food and brochures.  Some of the seniors were reluctant to sign up.  They did not want to be dependent on the government.   A Korean veteran on oxygen said, “So if I signed up, what would I tell my wife?’’ Nerios responded, “Tell her you’re an American, and this is your benefit.”  The vet decided to enroll.  He was the 26th senior that day to do so.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.