DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Families in Davidson County are stressed as they wait for food and nutrition services, formerly known as food stamps.
“A lot of people are going out here hungry, with their kids, themselves,” said Summer, who is waiting on her benefits.
Davidson County is about six weeks behind in processing recertifications and new applications. The Department of Social Services is pulling people from other departments to help with the massive backlog.
The county says it’s a combination between being short-staffed, the time it takes to train new employees and the high number of cases.
About 13,000 families are in the program in Davidson County, and many of them are running out of other options to keep food on the table while they wait.
“It’s got me stressed out, worrying about how I am going to have to get kids food,” Summer said.
She is a mom of two kids under the age of two.
“Just selling stuff around the house to try to get money, going out and finding things on the side of the road, selling stuff to the scrap yards and stuff like that has been helping us get food,” she said.
It’s been a tough two weeks for Summer, and it could be more than a month until she gets food and nutrition services again for her and her kids.
“He wants food constantly. He wants something to drink constantly. When I have to tell him ‘no’ do you know how bad that makes me feel because I genuinely don’t have it?” she said.
According to the state’s application processing timeliness, Davidson County has some of the worst numbers across North Carolina.
Here is a look at the timely and untimely numbers from the first week of October:
Timely : 48%
Davidson County is down five workers, and nearly half of their team is in training, which is something that takes six to 12 months to complete, making it tough to catch up on the backlog.
“So many of the new families we are seeing have never been to our center before, and they are asking for help because their food stamps have been delayed,” said Terri Fisher, the executive director at Fairgrove Family Resource Center in Thomasville.
The food pantry saw 63 new people coming their its doors. To compare, in September of last year, it was 11 new people.
“Sadly, the amount of food we have been able to distribute has been reduced because we need to be able to meet the demand that we are facing right now,” Fisher said.
728 people relied on the pantry last month. That’s almost double from September of last year when they served 399 people.
“It is a problem. I really think our public needs to understand it’s not going away. It is only getting worse,” Fisher said.
She is asking anyone who is able to think of their local pantry and pick up a few extra items at the grocery store to help them out during this tough time.