Hundreds line up for hurricane SNAP benefits in Pasco County only to be told the date had changed

Food assistance will now be November 5 to 8
Posted at 6:37 PM, Oct 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 03:04:21-04

Hundreds of people in Pasco County waiting in line for food assistance after Hurricane Irma leave empty-handed Sunday. The event had been moved and now people in line are forced to wait another two weeks to get supplies.

“I’m a nurse so I made sure I cleared my schedule and drove all the way over here and there’s nothing,” Shavon Greenidge said.

Greenidge is just one of more than 400 people who showed up to the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Center Sunday, looking for help from the Food for Florida program, only to be disappointed.

The line formed long before sunrise and people waiting said they weren’t informed the date of the food benefits handout changed.

“I feel like they should have at least emailed us cause when we submitted the application we had to put in our email address and our phone number so they could have at least sent out a text or something,” Greenidge said.

The problem was infrastructure at the recreation center. ABC Action News reached out to Pasco County and DCF.

Pasco County administrator said, "So many of our friends and neighbors were impacted by Hurricane Irma, and Pasco County is working with local, state and federal agencies to ensure assistance for everyone who needs it. We understand the people who showed up in Land O' Lakes today are disappointed that the Florida Department of Children and Families Food for Florida event has been postponed, and we apologize for the inconvenience. Pasco County is committed to helping our residents recover from Irma in the safest, most effective way possible. We encourage families to apply for aid at DCF's Food for Florida event November 5 through November 8 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds."

DCF responded with their own statement:

"DCF remains committed to serving residents throughout the state with the needed disaster food assistance following the impacts of Hurricane Irma. This past Monday, Pasco County officials notified us they were terminating a previously-approved agreement to host a Food for Florida site in their county that was to begin October 22.

Immediately upon notification, we mobilized additional staff to assist for the remainder days of our Polk County site so that Pasco residents who needed the immediate assistance could be served. We shared information regarding the cancellation, and that Pasco residents could be served immediately in Polk County, via community partners, social media, press releases and our website. There were also multiple print, television and online media reports regarding the situation. Thanks in part to our local media partners like ABC Action News, we were able to get the word out to Pasco residents and were able to serve hundreds of Pasco County families in immediate need during the remaining days of the Polk site.

Over the past couple days we have worked diligently to secure a new site so we can continue to serve Pasco County residents. The new location will be at the Pasco County Fairgrounds November 5 – 8.”

People in line said the communication was not enough.