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Food stamps glitch sends more hungry to soup kitchen

Posted August 9, 2013

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— It’s 11 a.m. outside the Shepherd's Table Food Kitchen in downtown Raleigh.

That means it's time for everyone outside to head in for a meal.

“It’s hard to see anybody come in and need a free meal,” said Ashley DeLappe, assistant director at the food kitchen. “We know that a lot of people aren’t here by choice.”

Shepherd’s Table is typically busier at the end of the month, when many people who receive food stamps have run out of the benefit.

Soup kitchen Food stamp delays find soup kitchens dishing up more meals

But the kitchen directors have noticed a change this month, with more clients coming in during the first week of August. They think the upswing has to do with problems with a new state computer system called NC FAST, or Families Accessing Services through Technology. The software was supposed to streamline social services, but officials have acknowledged that glitches have prevented some residents from receiving their food stamp allotment on time.

“This month has been different with the food stamp glitch,” DeLappe said. “It’s the second week of the month, and we’ve served over 300 people every day this week.”

A spokesman with the state Department of Health and Human Services said each county is going through a learning curve in the transition to NC FAST, and the state is working to provide more training and fix problems.

“DHSS continues to work closely with all 100 counties to implement the new NC FAST system, which this week has paid about $38 million in Food Nutrition Services to 150,000 individuals and families on time," spokesman Ricky Diaz said in a statement. "We are concerned that some clients are experiencing delays, and are working around the clock with county offices to ensure that applications are processed quickly and accurately.”

Officials at Wake County Social Services said the department has hired temporary workers to fast-track cases that are farthest behind.

Ashley Bunn, who is pregnant, said she hasn't received food stamps since June. She came to Shepherd’s Table for a meal.

“I want the state to go ahead and get the show on the road,” she said. “People need their food stamps. People got kids to feed.”

Bruce Purvis, who also ate at the kitchen Friday, said he also hasn’t received food stamps since June.

“Maybe they should speed it up a little bit,” he said of the state’s efforts to solve the problems. “I understand their system, but it’s taking a very long time.”

Added Bunn, “It’s really tough. I usually wouldn’t have to come down here this much.”
 

31 Comments

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  • toughtiger Aug 12, 2013

    @ django99
    The bottom line is you don't know for sure how that person got any of the things they had. You are just assuming. And judging.

  • LastSon1981 Aug 12, 2013

    Maybe the beer and smokes were for someone else. Maybe the car doesn't belong to that person. Maybe the Iphone was bought before the person as laid off. You have no clue what's going on in that persons life. Yet you are judging.

    toughtiger

    Not to mention lying I'm sure safelink doesn't have the iphone.

  • toughtiger Aug 12, 2013

    I'm sure that there are a large portion of people on food stamps that really need it, but when im standing in a grocery store line behind someone buying food with a ebt card then buy beer and smokes, lottery tickets and other junk, while talking on a iPhone then getting in a late model sedan parked in a handicapped spot when they don't seem handicapped, THEN I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT, I've SEEN IT!! more than once , have heard about selling cards 50 cents on the dollar, then hearing how to beat the system to get a card from people. that's what conservatives have a problem with.

    Maybe the beer and smokes were for someone else. Maybe the car doesn't belong to that person. Maybe the Iphone was bought before the person as laid off. You have no clue what's going on in that persons life. Yet you are judging.

  • ups1158 Aug 9, 2013

    I'm sure that there are a large portion of people on food stamps that really need it, but when im standing in a grocery store line behind someone buying food with a ebt card then buy beer and smokes, lottery tickets and other junk, while talking on a iPhone then getting in a late model sedan parked in a handicapped spot when they don't seem handicapped, THEN I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT, I've SEEN IT!! more than once , have heard about selling cards 50 cents on the dollar, then hearing how to beat the system to get a card from people. that's what conservatives have a problem with.

  • Barfly Aug 9, 2013

    "Ashley Bunn, who is pregnant, said she hasn't received food stamps since June. She came to Shepherd’s Table for a meal."

    This is way I could care less whether she eats or not. Obviously, she's having unprotected sex with a soon-to-be government dependent child relying on welfare to survive. Unreal.

  • LovemyPirates Aug 9, 2013

    ims1924 Birth control isn't 100% effective.

  • stymieindurham Aug 9, 2013

    "I bet 2/3 of these people who are judging the loudest are the ones who also shout the loudest that they are Christians. -caniac31(

    You'd be correct, praying for the haters who are Christian when convenient."
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    More left-wing baseless accusations with no substance. Just say anything and see if it will stick. Very intelligent-

  • rweaver2 Aug 9, 2013

    I bet the ones crying are the ones sitting around all day watching tv, having babies. I have a great idea----GET A JOB!!!!!!

  • free2bme Aug 9, 2013

    Foodstatrader this lady took initiative and is going to soup kitchens. You don't know her situation so it is best if you stop speculating or lying on her. Evidentially you have lots of money and has never fell on hard times. One illness and some can be wiped out financially. Our country has always helped their own and that is one of the great things about it. regardless their is no excuse for tax dollars going to this unorganized mess and it is not right that people and children are waiting on food because of it. But as republicans say at least she didn't have an abortion.

  • tmed1938 Aug 9, 2013

    I guess the state got the name right....fast is to go without food.Way to go N.C.!!

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