REIDSVILLE, N.C. — A Rockingham County family says they are struggling to feed their kids because of an unreliable state computer program.
The new NC FAST computer system in North Carolina has resulted in delayed food stamps in cities all over the Triad for months.
Cierra and Tyler Lindsey live in Reidsville and are both in community college, hoping to graduate soon and get jobs.
In the meantime they rely on SNAP benefits, food stamps, from the state to help feed their two young sons.
“I was supposed to get food stamps on the third,” explained Cierra, who keeps calling Social Services for answers. “I still haven’t gotten them.”
The voicemail there hasn’t offered much information, she said. “It pretty much says we’ve been having problems with our system for months… and they don’t have a timetable of when you’re going to get them.”
Tyler added, “My food stamps have been late pretty much constantly since August, September… I’m just tired of going through the struggle month to month and pretty much tired of seeing other people struggle, too.”
Cierra is pregnant and worried about her nutrition as she struggles to buy enough food for her family. “I’m nine months pregnant. I can’t live off pantry food. I have a 7 and 9 year old. How am I supposed to be like- well, you can’t eat today or you can only eat ravioli?”
They are thankful for the food stamps they receive, but wish there was more warning when the money was going to be delayed.
The SNAP benefit problems put more pressure on community agencies helping the unemployed and homeless.
Ophelia Brown with the Reidsville Soup Kitchen said, “We have new faces coming in on account of the food stamp problem. They tell me about the food stamps- some of them cut off, some cut back, and most don’t get them anymore at all.”
She tries to help when she can. “If they say they don’t have food at home, I try to fix them a little small bag so they’ll have something to eat that night.”
For families like the Lindseys, the holidays are even harder.
“We have to eat and Christmas is going to be limited,” Tyler said slowly. “No one wants to try to explain that to a child.”
Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Ricky Diaz says legally he is not allowed to discuss specific cases, but promised to pass the Lindseys’ information to the NC FAST troubleshooting team to help.