Demand for food stamps is up in N.H.

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New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that more households are receiving food stamps that at any other time in recent years.

That’s being attributed to rising food prices and an unstable economy.

In February, applications to the state’s food stamp program were up about 18 percent over the same month last year.

The number of households receiving food stamps in February, meanwhile, increased 8 percent over the previous February, and nearly 14 percent over February 2006.

Food bank and pantry workers say those figures mirror increased demand for other social services, as surging food and fuel costs drive more New Hampshire residents to local food pantries.

Demand for the New Hampshire WIC program, which provides certain foods to pregnant women, new mothers and young children, is also up.

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