For more information contact:
Joe Thornton
Office of Communications
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Direct Line: 558-9149 Fax: 558-7075 Cell: 546-7960

For immediate release

DHHR Office of Family Support receives national awards

The 26th annual American Association of Food Stamp Directors conference was recently held in San Diego. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources was presented with two awards.

The awards presentation was to recognize and celebrate positive examples of a state's individual success in reaching and providing services to those in need of food stamp aid.

"The recognition the department receives is never possible without the hard work and dedication of our field staff. These awards truly are a testament to the service they provide everyday to West Virginia's families most in need," said Karen Thornton, director of the office of family support for DHHR.

According to USDA Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Christopher Martin, "West Virginia has gone the extra mile so that all its eligible citizens can have access to food stamps. From expanded office hours to remote intake sites, the DHHR's whatever-it-takes determination assures West Virginians the means to obtain a healthy diet. It's that same determination that made West Virginia excel in the area of program integrity and earned the State a $1.9 million federal performance bonus."

The awards received by West Virginia were for effective food stamp management and for recognition of improved access for the working poor to the food stamp program.

West Virginia leads the nation for recipient participation in the food stamp program. Of the 289,000 people eligible statewide, 92 percent receive food stamp aid. The next closest participation rate is Maine at 83 percent.