JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Funding is being directed to help stock Alaska food pantries as part of a broader effort to address a state backlog in processing food stamp benefits.

Major delays by the state in processing applications for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have heavily impacted rural parts of Alaska where food costs are high and food pantries rare, and strained food bank resources across the state, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The state has attributed the processing delays to staffing shortages, a 2021 cyberattack that disrupted online services, an outdated system and a flood of recertification applications.

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