Tennessee food stamp applications increasing

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Officials say an increasing number of Tennesseans are participating in the federal food stamp program.

About 407,000 households -- nearly 6 percent more families than during the same period in 2007 -- applied for food stamps last month in Tennessee.

The Congressional Budget Office, the financial analysis arm of Congress, predicts 28 million Americans will be enrolled in the program by next year.

The increase in food stamp applicants is being blamed on growing unemployment rates and rising gas and food prices.

The food stamp program was created in the 1960s to help eliminate malnutrition among low-income families. The average recipient gets $99 a month.

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

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