State computer glitch causes set back for food bank

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The state computer glitch caused a set back in one organization's efforts in helping people in need of food.

Every day, Food Bank staff logs on to the Virginia Social Services Department website to get a list of people who've applied for food stamps so they can reach out to them about their needs. They couldn't do that last Thursday or Friday. That changed Monday and one woman is thankful she got the call.

By dinner time, Kellie Malbone walked away from the Central Virginia Food Bank with milk, bread and canned goods to stock her kitchen.

"My step father's unemployed. I'm unemployed. My brother's the only one working and there's no food at the house," said Malbone.

Just hours before, she applied for food stamps on the Virginia Social Services website. The agency's server crashed during last Wednesday's state computer glitch.

"It took me like 15 tries to get to the application to apply for assistance," said Malbone.

Shanteny Calvin reaches out to people like Malbone. As a Food Bank employee, she can privately access the list of social services food stamp applicants.

"Out of a daily average of twenty to thirty we get, at least more than half that do require assistance," said Calvin.

Calvin said she couldn't get to that list last Thursday or Friday.

"It has impacted us a lot because we can not reach those clients and sometimes those clients do not have resources that could inform them that we are here to temporarily assist them," said Calvin.

Calvin said food stamp applicants wait about 45 days to receive assistance from the state. In the meantime the Central Virginia Food Bank puts those applicants in touch with local food pantries for necessities to tide them over.

This food should last Malbone and her family about a week or two.

"It was really a blessing to actually help us out," said Malbone.

According to social services, there may have been some delays on their website last Thursday, but no reports of problems on Monday or widespread issues with people having difficulties applying for eligibility.

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