Food stamp changes could affect thousands in Mecklenburg County

Changes to the food stamp program could impact thousands of people in Mecklenburg County who could all lose their benefits starting in April.

This has non-profits getting ready for that potential change and what this could mean for the resources they provide to those in need.

Non-profit organizations like loaves & fishes have been helping families make ends meet.

More food stamp recipients who lose their resources could possibly be coming through their doors because of recent changes.

That's because Mecklenburg County DSS predicts 10,000 people in the county will lose their benefits if they don't meet the following requirement - prove that they work, volunteer or are in school for at least 20 hours a week.

This federal requirement will help them remain eligible for yearly benefits.

Officials tell us those who don't meet the requirement will lose benefits starting in April, and they'll only receive food stamp three months a year.

Loaves & Fishes, a non-profit organization, has 22 locations in the Charlotte area. They're trying to prepare for the changes to make sure they can meet the demand.

Last year the organization helped 72,000 people in Mecklenburg County.

Mecklenburg County DSS says they currently have 75,000 active food stamp cases.

Beverly Howard with Loaves &Fishes expects the generous community will make donations so they can meet the demand in April.

"We have never in our 40 year history turned anyone away,” she said.

Twenty-three counties in North Carolina are required to implement the new requirement.
Mecklenburg DSS says they're piloting a work ready program to help people transition into the changes.