Families on assistance program are still waiting for food stamps - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Families on assistance program are still waiting for food stamps

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Dozens of families are being forced to find food because their food stamps are being delayed by DSS. Dozens of families are being forced to find food because their food stamps are being delayed by DSS.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The food stamp frenzy continues in New Hanover County as dozens of families continue to wait for stamps.

According to New Hanover County's Department of Social Services, a new distribution system has left a lot of people without food stamps.

"It's been really tough for us, but we've made it," said Jeremy Malepeai."We've been through worse."

Jeremy and his dad, David Rodgers, are both on stamps and have been without them for about three weeks.

"People are suffering because of this," said Rodgers. 

Rodgers is not only upset that they haven't received their stamps, but he's also upset about the way DSS officials are allegedly handling the situation.

Rodgers said officials told him the only option he had to get some food on the table was to go to a food bank. He also said that it is near impossible to get someone on the phone and when he does they tell him they will check on things but never do. 

DSS told WECT.com that the delay is being caused by the state's new electronic system, which is still being implemented.

They've experienced a number of problems with getting all the paperwork up to date on the new system, according to DSS Asst. Director of Economic Services Chris McNamee.

McNamee also told WECT.com that employees have been working weekends and overtime to help work out all of the problems with the new system. She said the new system was put into place back in November.

Rodgers said he wants to see the new system work because it is not only affecting his family but many others as well.

Rodgers is currently on disability and receives a limited monthly stipend. He said he's been forced to dip into those funds.

"It's been tough," he said. "My wallet's empty now."

Rodgers and his son are patiently waiting for food and answers at this point.

DSS officials said they have emergency food stamps for some families. However, those stamps are issued through the very system that isn't working in the county.

Officials could not tell WECT.com a time of when everything should be up and running for those on the assistance program.

McNamee said if a family is in dire need of food, they should come by the DSS office for help.

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