Reporter: Lauren Compton | Videographer: Jemon Haskins
Lynchburg, VA - Human Services reimbursed those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for food lost in the power outage, but many say they missed the deadline because they never knew about it.
The Human Services Department put a notice in the paper, on social media and notified people at cooling shelters. But many families never got the message, missed the deadline and are now struggling to get through the month.
Christopher Quarles spent his Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or food stamps. Then, he lost them in the power outage.
"Everything got damaged, I couldn't eat, couldn't see, no lights or nothing," said Quarles.
Then he, like so many others, missed the July 9 deadline to be reimbursed. Now he's in a tough spot for a single father.
"It's hard for me because I buy my son milk with that. I do stuff for my kid. I also do stuff for my mom," he said.
Wendy Clark, the eligibility chief at Human Services, says she has heard several stories like this. In fact, she says the need that poured in after the derecho was the most she had seen in her 28 years at Human Services.
"We have received well over 2,500 replacement requests," said Clark.
The department is now referring people like Quarles to the local food bank for assistance, and agencies like Interfaith Outreach which also assists people with utility cutoffs and eviction notices. But, there is little Human Services can do now to reimburse losses due to the power outages.
"Really there is limited help at this time in the area because so many individuals have needed it," Clark.
There are a few exceptions to the reimbursement deadline.
Clark says Human Services may reimburse people who were unable to physically make it to the office or who sent in a request.