Food Assistance Requests Increase for Alabama

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

The average grocery store trip is becoming more taxing on residents here in the Wiregrass.

As prices begin to add up, many are turning to assistance from the government.

"We’ve had an increase of 225 households which equates to 424 additional household members who are participating in the program in Henry County," says Janet Hunter, the Program Supervisor for Henry County’s Department of Human Resources.

She says the increase of applicants needing food stamps, now regarded as food assistance began the summer of 2008, and has since seen a steady climb.

Hunter says, "As people lose their jobs, their income is reduced maybe to unemployment and then when unemployment is exhausted their income may be reduced to you know, part time jobs or no jobs therefore their income for their household is reduced and they need assistance to help supplement their food budgets.”

And it's not just the Wiregrass that is hurting.

Statewide, the need for food assistance has grown by 65,000 people.

For many of them, hunter says they tell her, they never thought they would have to take this route.

Hunter says, "I never saw myself as being in your office but I need assistance at this time.”

While the talks of the economy is a hit and miss on whether it’s going to get better in the future, unfortunately Hunter says the outlook is bleak right now.

She says, "In the immediate future I see our case loads to continue to increase, I see that we will have more families will be seeking assistance."

Nationally, federal officials say the need for food assistance grew by more than 17 percent from September 2007 to September 2008.

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