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Disconnecting DCF phone lines force Orange County charity to stop services for SNAP applicants

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Florida families applying for Food Stamps are at an impasse and one local non-profit said those issues have brought its benefits services to a stop.

Matthew’s Hope, a non-profit that provides outreach for the homeless as well as hot meals, showers, and other social services told Channel 9 that they have not been able to provide SNAP assistance for nearly two months.

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The Winter Garden based charity helps the homeless navigate the SNAP application process, which often includes a crucial interview with the state that verifies an applicant’s need.

But those experiencing homelessness can’t get through when they call in-person, and don’t have cell phones where DCF can call them back.

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The system of dead ends has left the non-profit without answers, and those in need without a meal.

Melinda Weaver and her husband are among the first to come to Matthew’s Hope every Tuesday and Thursday to use the office phones, hoping that something has changed.

“Food stamps is about the only way we can eat. It’s really tough,” Weaver said. “If you get a hold to them, the line goes dead. You can only go so far on granola, cereal, and Spam.”

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Pastor Frank Gallow is in the same frustrating situation as the people he serves at Matthew’s Hope.

He’s been a pastor for the non-profit for 14 years, and for the first time in his life, he needs SNAP Assistance after experiencing severe health issues which means he requires a feeding tube to stay alive.

He applied for SNAP earlier this month to cover his expensive supplements.

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“The supplements take up my entire paycheck, so there is nothing left over to buy the supplements with,” said Gallow. “I have health insurance and I do have stuff going into me. But what if SNAP was all I had? I’d be starving to death.”

Eyewitness News has reached out to DCF with several questions about this ongoing problem.

A DCF Spokesperson said they were working on a response to our inquiry, but Channel 9 did not receive a response ahead of news time on Thursday.

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