Local food banks slammed, people running out of food stamps
Food pantries in our area have been slammed due to people running out of food stamps. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) said they changed their distribution cycle to help people prepare for Hurricane Irma. It meant people received the food stamps earlier, but they had to make the money last longer.
DCF is now trying to get back on their regular cycle, but in the meantime, it's put some food stamp recipients in a bind.
Donnie Hatcher usually gets his food stamps in the middle of the month, but last month, they came two weeks early.
He said, "By the end of the month they were gone."
Some people had to make the money stretch for six weeks, rather than four. Jennifer Whittaker runs the food pantry at the Warrington Emergency Aid Center.
She said, "The people are coming in and saying 'We are strapped, we are spent out, gotta wait on food stamps', but they don't come in for a week or two."
Their shelves have been bare keeping up with the demand.
Whittaker said, "Normally I do three to six vouchers a day. I did 15 to 30 bags that left this building."
She said many people are hungry.
"They're hitting every food pantry they can hit," she said.
We called other food pantries in the area and they said they are in the same situation. DCF is in the process of getting back into their normal distribution cycle. They hope to be back on schedule by January.
There is a food distribution event this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Epps Christian Center at 2300 North Pace Boulevard in Pensacola.