GREENSBORO – A software problem with food stamp cards in Guilford County caused benefits for more than 4,000 recipients to get put on hold. While that number is much smaller now, the problem is still there.
Unfortunately, it is a problem that will be occurring for the next several months.
What a difference a week makes at Greensboro's Urban Ministry. Their shelves were full last week, but because of the strain the EBT software glitch has put on the food bank, they are now empty.
“It's coming in, but its going out, as you can see,” said Mike Aiken from Greensboro Urban Ministry.
Department of Social Services' Steve Hayes says the county is part of a pilot program, and once all the kinks are worked out, it should make customers' lives much easier.
“Eventually we will reach the point where a family can come in, tell their story one time, and get all the benefits they may be entitled to,” said Hayes.
But getting there is going to be a huge challenge, one that could take up to a year.
“We have caught up, and we will probably fall behind and catch up again next month,” said Hayes.
According to Hayes, one thing a lot of EBT customers do not realize is that every six months, the state of N.C. requires them to return re-certification documents to keep them in the system. One problem he said they have had with the news computer system, is that many folks aren't returning their papers.
“We have set up a hotline number also for people who are active food stamp recipients so you can call and get assistance with your case,” said Hayes.
In the meantime, Urban Ministry Leaders are asking donors to step up and help replenish these empty shelves.
The number for EBT customers with problems to call is (336) 641-5453.
The urban ministry is hosting food drives throughout the summer:
- CarMax, Wendover Avenue, June 2-30
- Summer Swim League, July 5–7
- Gate City Lanes, June 7-Aug. 16
- Young Democrats of Guilford County, Aug. 4
- The Groove Jam Benefit Concert, DooDad Farm near McLeansville, Aug. 11
- N.C. A&T University Alumni Foundation, Aug. 19
- Grace United Methodist Church, all summer