WAKE COUNTY — Hundreds of food stamp recipients in Wake County are learning just how dependent they are on computers. The food stamp distribution system was down Wednesday, so hundreds of families went home hungry and empty-handed.
For two days in a row, Melissa Ganis came to pick up her food stamps, and for two days, she was locked out.
"I had applied for emergency food stamps which you are supposed to get within three days," Ganis explained. "I've just now got them, just now been approved for them. Now, I can't even get them."
Ganis was not the only food stamp recipient to be greeted by a sign that reads "Pick up site will be closed today due to computer problems."
"It's my understanding that their computer crashed, and they are unable to issue any food stamps at this point," said Dean Simpson of the Wake County Human Services.
Wake County Human Services officials said most of the county's recipients had already received their food stamps when the computers went down on Monday.
A contractor was working on the problem, and hoped to have the system back online by Thursday. But that was little consolation for people like Sharon Foster who rely on food stamps to feed their families.
"My kid is at home hungry, and I don't have any money," Foster said. "So I'll do the best I can until they open up, and I can get my stamps."
Wake County Human Services officials say the office on Poole Road will open on Thursday at 9 a.m.
They say the private company that operates the office has figured out a way to open up the office, and distribute food stamps whether or not the computers are working.
The office will be open extended hours from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Anyone who has not picked up their food stamps can get them at that time.