Singles in the Piedmont, with no children, will no longer get food stamps next year

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Terri Fisher says many of the people she helps feed every day are working but underemployed.

"I see the people who come through these doors,” Fisher said, “they just lost their job."

Fisher is the executive director of the Fairgrove Family Resource Center in Thomasville which has a food pantry for those in need.

She expects the pantry to get a lot busier next year after food stamps are cut for thousands of people in the Piedmont.

"Imagine what that's going to do to the demand for food," Fisher said.

Davidson, Guilford and Randolph are among 23 counties in the state where people ages 18 to 50, who are unemployed and don't have children, will be limited to three months of food stamps every three years.

To get benefits, a person would have to be part of a work program or work at least 20 hours a week due to new United States Department of Agricultre (USDA) guidelines.

"People are already feeling down and depressed about their situations,” she said.

The USDA's changes are going into effect in areas where the job market has improved to certain levels.

As of August, the unemployment rate in Davidson County was 5.9 percent, a slight drop from the 2014 rate of 6.6 percent.

But Fisher said those numbers don't tell the whole story.

"We are not economically secure," Fisher said.

Davidson County Department of Social Services Director Dale Moorefield expects the changes to have a huge effect.

“I do believe it is going to make for some difficulties for those folks who are able-bodied and don't have dependents,” Moorefield said. “It will be difficult for them to put food on the table."

The changes are expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.