Who Is Helping Food Banks Impacted By NC Fast?

9:11 AM, Oct 11, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -  At the Greensboro Urban Ministry's food pantry, they're used to serving about 40 families a day. People like Robin Jones who's disabled and out of work.

"Thank God there is a place like this were that we can come to to find a little bit of help and relief," Jones said.

But this summer that need doubled to an average of 80 families a day- thanks in large part to computer glitches in the state's new social services system called NC Fast. The program couldn't process all the food stamp applications in time. So if you didn't get your food stamps, the Department of Social Services referred you to food pantries. 

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina supplies groceries to over 400 agencies including Greensboro Urban Ministries. Second Harvest representatives saw the increase all over their service area. And Executive Director Clyde Fitzgerald says so far the state government isn't giving food pantries any extra help.

"It means that those in need will get less. So we hope that that problem gets resolved," Fitzgerald said.

2 Wants To Know checked with food charities all over the Triad. In Greensboro and Alamance counties they've relied on increased donations from the community to get by. But organizations in Forsyth County found a different solution. The United Way, KB Reynolds Charitable Trust, and the Winston-Salem Foundation teamed up to cover agency costs. United Way's Eric Aft says the organization's dipping into its reserves to make the help happen.

"No one wants to see families go without food. And we are community that is responsive to the needs of our own, and we need to be there," Aft said.

The charities estimate the final bill will be about $80,000 in emergency aid. But every day the state's computer glitches continue, that number grows.

The head of NC Fast Wayne Black explains their priority has been getting kinds in the system fixed.

"The main thing we're trying to do is get the food stamps benefits to the clients to take the pressure off of the food banks because we know ultimately that's the solution," he said.

Black says his office also lobbying to make sure the six food banks across the state will get all of their expected three million dollars in state funding this year. A portion of that was at risk with the shutdown, but Black says the state tells him, North Carolina will make up the missing funds.


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