Alabama Wants More People to Get Food Stamps

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama wants more people to receive food stamp benefits. Alabama Department of Human Resources Commissioner Page Walley says the move would help the hungry and boost the economy.

Walley said trying to increase a publicly funded program during a tough budget year may seem impractical, but he says it isn't really.

He told The Birmingham News that every $5 in federal food stamps issued generates $9.20 in local and state economic activity.

The newspaper reported that about 546,000 Alabamians receive food stamps each month. The stamps provided more than 600 million dollars in federal benefits for state residents this year. Walley said the total economic impact was estimated at 1.1 billion dollars.

Walley recently brainstormed with local, state and federal officials and plans to launch programs this year to encourage more people to apply for the benefits.

Plans include making it easier for the elderly and diabled to apply and outreach to employers of low-income employees.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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