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Oklahomans on federal assistance flock to Wal-Mart, newspaper finds

April 25, 2011 |  8:53 am

Everyone knows that as the economy has continued to struggle the number of people applying for food stamps has grown. But where are people spending these federally provided dollars?

The Tulsa World in Oklahoma had an interesting analysis of such data: According to a recent report, much of the nearly $1.2 billion in food stamp expenditures in the state went to Wal-Mart stores.

According to the newspaper’s analysis of data from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, consumers enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program spent about $506 million between July 2009 and March 2011 at Wal-Mart. Other places across the state that received millions of dollars: retail smoke shops, convenience stores, substance abuse rehabilitation centers and pizza shops that allow customers to bake pizzas at home, according to the newspaper report.

Some of the key reasons people spent their money with specific retailers were location in proximity to a consumer’s house, convenience and price of goods, according to the report.

-- P.J. Huffstutter