Food stamp process goes more smoothly on second day


Posted on September 6, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 6 at 5:41 PM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Paul Gelston was armed and ready Thursday morning, with essential items for a long wait.

“Got water, MREs, a book, and my iPod,” Gelston said.

Gelston is in line for disaster aid from DSNAP. It's aimed at helping those who don't normally get food stamps but are in need after Hurricane Isaac.

“I have a handicapped daughter. We lost a lot of stuff in our refrigerator. Power was out for about six days,” said Ruben Francis.

Frustrations ran high Wednesday at the DNAP centers in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. It was the first day of the program, and many waited for hours outside in the heat. Many were expecting a similar experience Thursday.

“I really thought I was going to be here all day,” said Aletha Duncan.

But within an hour of the doors opening, the parking lot emptied out, with the line of people ushered inside to enjoy the air conditioning – a change from yesterday.

“Of course it's always a learning experience,” said Lindsey deBelieux of DCFS. “We have made improvements from four years ago with Gustav. We have made improvements in the past 24 hours.”

“This time with Isaac it was very prompt, and I was very surprised, and the aid that they're giving people here I think it’s going to be very helpful to get back online, and I think it's going to be helpful to get through our own situation in our lives,” said Cyril Dumaine.

A beefed-up staff and new traffic configurations helped cut down wait times Thursday, something that helps ease stress on those, like Gelston, who are already in a tough situation.

“I'm currently unemployed, no benefits, and I lost probably about $800 to $900 worth of food,” Gelston said.