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Food stamp program issues leave families hungry

Published On: Aug 19 2013 06:38:58 PM CDT
CRAVEN COUNTY -

Technology issues are causing delays for some local families who rely on food stamps.

Food stamps are loaded on a debit-like card, and the deposit normally happens automatically every month.

But it has been two months since one Jaime Guddo’s card has renewed

The delay comes as there are continuing problems relating to North Carolina new food stamp computer system, known as NC FAST, for families accessing services through technology.     

“It’s frightening, not being able to feed your kids,” Guddo said.

Guddo works full-time at a New Bern discount store, but said rent, utility bills, and a death in the family have sapped her pay.

Kent Flowers, the director of Craven County’s Department of Social Services, said the problem is relating to technology issues and his staff still learning to operate the system.

Flowers said his staff is working overtime to correct the problems.

A spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services said the state is bringing on new employees to work through correcting the problems.

The spokesman, Ricky Diaz, added that the system is working for many North Carolinians; benefits of approximately $120 million have been paid out to more than 380,000 families in August alone.

But that’s cold comfort for Guddo, who said she was forced to send two of her three children to live with extended family, who can afford food.