Magazine article Policy & Practice

Cleveland County Department of Social Services Saves $10,000 in County Dollars While Helping County Citizens in Need of Food

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Cleveland County Department of Social Services Saves $10,000 in County Dollars While Helping County Citizens in Need of Food

Article excerpt

According to a report from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, one in six neighbors in North Carolina struggle with having "food insecurities." This term refers to a lack of access to enough food for all household members to eat each month.

The Cleveland County Department of Social Services (DSS) has effectively serviced clients to determine eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the federal Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), previously known as Food Stamps. Unfortunately, sometimes receiving FNS benefits are not enough. Eighty-one percent of the N.C. households that receive FNS benefits still don't know where their next meal is coming from.

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Every day, workers throughout our department encounter adults, children, and elderly that have an immediate need for food. Whenever we receive Adult Protective Services and Child Protective Services reports, we frequently encounter elderly/disabled adults and children who are hungry and struggling to meet their basic needs. In addition to client circumstances, there have been major state functionality computer issues with the benefit eligibility system, North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology (NC FAST). The system has caused delays for clients receiving their FNS benefits.

In keeping with our mission statement, "to promote citizen advocacy," we were compelled to use agency funds to provide food for individuals and families in need. There were also many occasions when Economic Service workers went office to office to collect food items from others in the department to give to a client in need. …

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