February 15, 2008

State of Alabama
Press Release: Human Resources, Department of

State and Federal Officials Meet in Montgomery to Discuss Anti-Hunger Initiative

State and federal officials met in Montgomery February 7th and 8th to discuss strategies to expand participation in the Food Stamp Program. While an average of 546,000 Alabamians currently participate in the program, federal figures show that only 57% of those eligible are served. While that is above the national average and represents significant improvement over the past two years, it is not where the program wants to be.

"I believe this is a great opportunity for all of the agencies providing food and nutrition services to the people of Alabama," said DHR Commissioner Page Walley. "It’s my hope, and belief, that this collaborative effort will assist us in reaching individuals, families, and elderly citizens that we have been unable to help in the past."

The meeting joined state agency officials involved in food and nutrition programs with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials to learn more about each others missions and efforts. Participants also discussed ways to collaborate more closely, expand access to services, and the importance of reducing the stigma attached to Food Stamps.

Participants included:

  • Jessica Shahin, Acting Deputy Administrator for the Food Stamp Program in Washington
  • Don Arnette, Regional Administrator USDA Food & Nutrition Service, SE Regional Office in Atlanta and staff
  • DHR Food Assistance Division staff
  • Alabama Department of Public Health staff
  • The Alabama Department of Education staff
  • The Farmers Market Authority staff
  • The Camellia Project staff
  • Representatives from 10 DHR County offices

Food Stamp Facts

Food Stamp benefits are funded entirely by the federal government.

The Food Stamp Program provides benefits to an average of 546,000 Alabamians monthly.

Food Stamp benefits totaled over $600 million in 2007, providing an economic benefit of $1.1 billion.

According to figures provided by the USDA, DHR serves approximately 57% of eligible Alabamians.

There are a significant number of eligible elderly citizens who have not applied for assistance.

Any elderly or other families needing assistance in purchasing nutritious food to feed their families are encouraged to contact their local county DHR office to apply for the Food Stamp Program. Applications by elderly citizens can be mailed and questions answered by phone. Additional assistance for the elderly is available. 

  • For more information, visit http://dhr.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here