Long lines form in New Orleans for disaster relief food stamps

Long lines form in New Orleans for disaster relief food stamps
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POSTED: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 12:30pm

UPDATED: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 2:13pm

There were long lines at Lakefront Arena; as storm victims waited to apply for disaster food stamp relief.

Cars moved into the lot at a steady pace; as owners parked themselves inside the lakefront arena.

In some cases people waited hours to apply for disaster food stamp relief.

"It's just everyone filing in and sitting in the arena waiting for their numbers to get called," Megan Russell said.

"As they seat some people down they clear the section out," Gloria Scott said. "Then they get to your section next, but people started kind of jumping the line."

And this was just day one of the seven day relief effort; which was based on an alphabet system.

Anyone in need after Hurricane Isaac is encouraged to apply between 8am-6pm.

Last names beginning with A-C were welcomed Wednesday, Thursday D-G, Friday H-L, Saturday M-R, and Sunday S-Z.

Organizers say preregistering online will speed things up.

"That will streamline the amount of time you'll have to spend in our facility. By pre-applying putting some basic demographic information and that helps you get through the line quicker," DCFS Spokesman Richard Howse said.

But Megan Russell couldn't take it anymore.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter asked, "You gave up, why? Because it's not really worth standing in line for three hours," Russell replied.

Just the opposite for Gloria Scott.

She says she had to throw out hundreds of dollars in food when she lost power.

"I'm 65. I've worked fulltime," Scott explained. "And I've paid my taxes and anything the government is going to give I'm coming to get it cause it's due me."

Benefits vary.

On average a single person could get up to $200 dollars; and up to $668 dollars for a family of four.

Eligibility is determined during the face to face interview.

"It's a combination of information as a result of the entire interview process. Is it income sensitive? We do collect information about income. That is a part of the eligibility determination," Howse said.

If you're planning to apply, here's a word of advice from people who've completed the process.

"I would advise them to be patient and bring their lunch with them." "Something to eat or drink, that's all," Scott said.

If you're unable to apply during scheduled days, alternate days have been set up for next Monday and Tuesday.

If you already receive benefits, there's no need to show up. You'll receive disaster food stamps automatically.

Click here to watch the video segment that goes with this story.

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