Residents in 27 counties are eligible for free groceries this week. Here’s why.

September 27, 2018

Starting Friday, residents in some of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Florence can apply to replace the groceries they lost during the storm.

The service is available for all residents in 27 counties who lost power or whose homes were damaged and need fresh groceries.

In a press release, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services listed the 27 eligible counties severely impacted by Florence, which include Bladen, Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Lenoir, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson. Other counties may be added later if approved by the U.S Department of Agriculture.

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called D-SNAP, provides households that qualify a one-time benefit on a special debit card to help buy food.

“The exact amount will depend on household size, but a family of one would receive $192, a family of four would receive $640 and larger families would receive more,” according to a statement in the release.

In addition to food, people can purchase infant formula, ice and drinking water with the card. Paper items, soap, vitamins, diapers, medicine, pet foods, tobacco or alcoholic beverages can not be purchased.

Residents must apply in person at their county’s designated application site. Applicants should bring a photo ID and proof of residency.

Applications will be accepted Sept. 28 through Oct. 6. Application sites will be closed on Sunday, Sept. 30. Applications can be filled out ahead of time or at the center.

Brian Haney, the Assistant County Manager of Harnett County, said the benefits have caused longer than usual wait times at the department.

He recommends people get there early.

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