Thousands seek SNAP benefits after Hurricane Irma

Posted at 10:15 PM, Oct 08, 2017

Hurricane Irma hit nearly a month ago, but for thousands, the fight to rebuild is far from over.

“Food shortages, trying to keep up, financial situations,” Shineeta Hendersan, who just got done with the process of applying for SNAP benefits, said.

Shineta and her husband are still struggling to eat a month after Irma smashed into Florida.


The couple is among more than 20 thousand that have already visited the Plant City location.

This is one of hundreds of locations across Florida trying to help those who need it, apply for SNAP benefits.

“We have been dealing with a lot,” Hendersan said.

For some, the decision to wait in line for help can be daunting.

Shea Lynn says she hesitated because it’s hard to ask for help.

But, in the end, she had no choice but to get in line.

“We had to evacuate to my parent's house for like four days. When we came back we didn't have electricity for about a week after that all of our food went bad,” Lynn said.

The lines to get into the Plant City Stadium grounds could be seen for miles long.

In some areas, even causing traffic issues along Jim Johnson Road.

But once in, clients were in and out within 15 minutes at the most.

“People were super friendly, super helpful,” Shea Lynn, said.

400 DCF workers are stationed at the Plant City location, one.

All helping with paperwork, checking backgrounds and assigning specific amounts of money to families who qualify for the aid.

Shea Lynn says she and her partner were able to get $400 dollars for groceries.

“It's awesome that they got something going on to help the community because, at a time like this, people have to come together,” Bassan Hendersan, said.

Those in Hillsborough County have two more days to seek help from the Plant City location.

Otherwise, they will have to go to the next location which will begin taking clients on October 13th in Sarasota.  Everyone applying should bring a photo ID with them to the site.