Colman, who receives the benefits, called an 800 telephone line for the program and it said the system was down due to maintenance, she said. “That’s a problem. There are a lot of families who are not going to be able to feed children because the system is being maintenanced,” Colman said. She planned to reach out to local officials. “You don’t want children going hungry tonight because of stupidity,” she said. Colman said the store manager promised her that he would honor the day’s store flyer discounts next week. Wasmer said the states affected by the temporary outage also included Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Ohio’s cash and food assistance card payment systems went down at 11 a.m., said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Johnson said Xerox asked retailers to revert to a manual system, meaning customers could spend up to $50 until the system was restored. Illinois residents began reporting problems with their cards known as LINK in that state on Saturday morning, said Januari Smith, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Smith said that typically when the cards aren’t working retailers can call a backup phone number to find out how much money customers have available in their account.
As States Struggle During Government Shutdown, Companies Like Food Lion Step Up
Do we smell a worldwide trend? While Domino’s is the first company to hop on this scent-sation, we don’t think it’ll take long for other companies to follow suit. Buck the Trend Make a no-food-in-front-of-the-TV rule. In fact, if you save those Scandal episodes for when you’re running on the treadmill, it will make exercise more entertaining, says Prevention’s fitness expert Chris Freytag. And you’ll be less likely to call your delivery guy while you’re getting your sweat on. (For even more ways to sneak a little activity into your busy day, check out these 25 ways to fit in 10 minutes of exercise !) Food Trends to Avoid S.O.S. (Save our sauce) Because the chemical preservative Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) has been linked to stomach tumors in rat studies, the National Toxicology Program put this chemical on its naughty list. But that didn’t necessarily mean that it was eliminated from the shelves. In fact, the potential carcinogen is still in some foods like the ranch dressing at Carl’s Jr. (makes you a little less happy you opted for the salad, eh?). But the story doesn’t end there.
In North Carolina, for example, every WIC dollar spent on a pregnant woman saves $3.13 in Medicaid costs during the first 60 days of the babys life. WIC participation leads to lower infant mortality rates, fewer sick kids and higher rates of immunizations. Those benefits pay off long term, according to WIC proponents who cite studies showing that four and five year-olds who participate in WIC in early childhood have better vocabularies and digit memory scores than comparable children who do not participate in WIC. Participation in the program is based on eligibility. Women and children (up to five years of age) who meet the eligibility criteria receive food and cash-value vouchers for a variety of healthy foods (you can review NCs list of approved WIC foods here, downloads as a pdf). Those benefits appeared to be in jeopardy Tuesday. After hearing that DHHS could not support additional benefits and would, instead, refer families to community food banks, Food Lion, a NC-based grocery chain, stepped up to help out. Food Lion LLC is a subsidiary of Brussels-based Delhaize Group (NYSE: DEG). Founded as Food Town in 1957, today Food Lion is one of the largest supermarket companies in the United States, operating approximately 1,300 supermarkets in 11 states and employing 73,000 workers. As a nod to its North Carolina base, Food Lion made a $500,000 donation to seven regional food banks across the state to support those who need food assistance to feed their families. The donation, consisting of gift cards, was targeted to food banks stretching from the west to the east in the state and divided based on geography and number of counties in each region. The Food Lion gift cards will arrive at the food banks over the next two days. Food banks will distribute them to partner agencies and constituents in the next several weeks, or purchase critical food needed for the food bank. The gift cards can be used in any Food Lion store. And in keeping with the spirit of WIC, gift cards cannot be redeemed for purchases of alcohol or cigarettes.
Sam noted requests for help in some areas of the state have been up since before the shutdown began. Jacqueline Miller with End Hunger in Calvert County said her nonprofit received an influx of emails from federal workers asking if regulations permitted them to seek help. Her group responded by organizing an event targeted to workers and businesses that rely on them as customers. The group distributed 2,700 pounds of food to 71 families at its first “Food for Furlough” event and is planning another one for Monday in Huntingtown. Miller said the group is not checking federal identification anyone who needs help can receive it so it’s impossible to say how many receiving help have been directly affected by the shutdown. “If you own a gas station or you own a restaurant [frequented by federal workers ], you’re not getting that pay back, which is a real loss,” Miller said. “We wanted to help fill in that gap.” The increase in requests has not been limited to food programs. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said Friday officials received at least two dozen calls from residents unable to pay water and sewer bills because of the shutdown. The county announced it will suspend water service disconnections until the government reopens. Bita Dayhoff, president of the Howard County Community Action Council, said her group has received 364 requests this month for help with housing payments, utility bills and other aid not related to food, a 30 percent jump from the same period last year. United Way of Central Maryland received 15 shutdown-related calls to a 211 hot line it uses to help connect people to services, a spokeswoman said.