Food assistance available for disaster victims

Published 9:38 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

RALEIGH —  Assistance continues to be a priority for those affected by the storms that raked the state on April 16.

Starting yesterday (Friday), food assistance is available to victims in counties that were hardest hit by the tornadoes.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, to provide temporary food assistance to individuals in 18 counties whose homes were damaged or destroyed, or who have disaster-related expenses from loss of income or loss of food due to power outages. Bertie and Hertford County citizens affected by the storm may qualify.

“Our staff has been working diligently with local departments of social services in the affected counties to ensure that those who suffered from these devastating storms are able to apply for assistance,” said DHHS Secretary Lanier Cansler. “Hopefully, eligible families will have the burden of recovery eased by getting this help.”

The Food and Nutrition Services program (formerly known as Food Stamps) is open to individuals not normally eligible for benefits. Residents of the affected areas of these counties who are not currently receiving food assistance benefits may qualify for a one-month period.  Eligibility is based on available income and resources.

Food and Nutrition Services recipients who live in one of the affected counties and who suffered a food loss, damage to their home or self-employment property or loss of wages as a result of the April 16 storms must contact their county in person no later than May 6 for replacement of benefits unless they have already done so.

Those applying for assistance benefits will be asked to provide proof of identity along with proof of residency, such as a utility bill, and the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for all members of their household. Applicants should apply in the county where they reside.

Application sites will operate for five days at the following county locations:

Bertie County Department of Social Services, 110 Jasper Bazemore Ave., Windsor. Applications will be taken from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3.

Hertford County Cooperative Extension Office, 301 Tyson Street, Winton. Applications will be taken from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3.