Residents wait for help to replace food lost in Hurricane Matthew

Posted October 13, 2016 5:06 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2016 7:03 p.m. EDT

— Cumberland County's Department of Social Services pulled double duty Thursday, helping flood victims while providing services to thousands of regular clients not impacted by the storm.

Hundreds of people lined up at the DSS building, each with a story of survival.

Lisa Jones was pulled from her flooded home by a boat.

"I had to leave my sister, she was on the roof," she said. "By then, someone decided to come by in a helicopter and get her."

Jones is now living with 30 other family members in one house off Parkton Road. On Thursday, she hoped to get money to help replace the food that washed away in the floods.

"As the water rose, the freezer steadily floated off the porch. Open and everything. It's gone," she said.

Some people were not flooded out, but they lost power for days and spoiled everything in their refrigerators.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 3,164 people had applied for aid in replacing food lost or flooded.

"Milk, eggs, anything that is a perishable item. Especially if you have small children, you have to find a way to accommodate them," said Tikila Mack, who survived Matthew's floods.

It may take 24 to 72 hours to get food stamps or food debit cards. For many who stood in the long line, the loss is unimaginable.

"I lost everything. I lost a house, I lost a car, I lost everything that I tried to start over with," said Sarina Thompson. "The saying is, you keep trying and keep your head above water. I can say I saw my head was above water. I'm alive, and my kids are alive."