Social Services: Mothers reporting SNAP benefit issues should contact food bank

Posted at 6:09 PM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 13:20:26-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A day after WTVR CBS 6 profiled a single mother of three who was having trouble accessing her benefits from Richmond Social Services, more viewers are coming forward asking for assistance.

WTVR CBS 6 helped Shaneise Williams get her SNAP benefits on Tuesday after the city left her in limbo.

"You're SNAP balance is $470.48. They put the whole balance on there. I'm excited now,” Williams exclaimed. "I don't think without calling you guys it would have ever happened."

A number of Richmond mothers reached out to WTVR CBS 6 saying they are dealing with the same issue after they re-applied for benefits and are still waiting for an answer from the city.

"I've been leaving several messages with managers. I've called 311, I've been emailing,” said one woman who spoke with WTVR CBS 6 on the condition of anonymity.

Another woman said she was worried about how she was going to feed her son.

"I am mostly thinking about him and how he's going to eat?” she asked.

Another woman said she was so frustrated by the entire process she was no longer certain she wanted the benefits.

“At least let the people know what was going on instead of have them guessing or second guessing,” she said.

Richmond's Director of Social Services Shunda Giles issued this statement in response to whether the issue was widespread how long it would take for benefits to be restored:

"We do not speak to specific client cases due to confidentiality laws.
Our policy is to send renewal letters 30 days before benefit expiration.
In rare occasions when renewal letters do not reach the recipient in a timely manner, we will process these applications expeditiously, once they are brought to our attention. It is our desire to ensure that the needs of our constituents are met."

Social services workers suggested anyone waiting on SNAP benefits contact Feed More, a local food bank.

Feed More organizers said they are ready to help.

"Clearly, that's a terrible situation. That's why we're here to take care of that situation,” Feed More Chief Operations Officer Norm Gold said.

City officials could not provide the number of people without those benefits, but viewers said they have reached out to the food bank and are getting help.

If you have not received SNAP benefits and are without food, call Feed More at 804-521-2500, ext. 1254 to find a center in your neighborhood.

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