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Mar 31, 2011 6:03 PM by David Ortiviz

Families wait month or longer for food benefits

People in Pueblo County who rely on food assistance from the government are frustrated. There's such a large backlog some are having to wait over a month for help--and this isn't a new problem.

The government offers help with food for people who don't have a lot of money. However, in Pueblo County many, like Teresa Long are left waiting. "I was advised that they were two months behind and I was astounded," said Long.

Long is a single mother, who's going to college full time and working part time to make ends meet. Imagine the shock, when her food benefits were a month late. "You can't keep doing this to people. That's devastating. You're ruining people's lives and hurting them," said Long.

This is nothing new in Pueblo County. News First 5 reported similar stories six months ago. "I would love to say that our situation has improved, however that's really not the case," said Levetta Love, Administrator of the Family Service Center in Pueblo.

The Family Service Center, which runs the program says 14,400 people in Pueblo County are in need of help and they've seen a whopping 40% increase, over the past few years. All this has created a big backlog. "The reality is that we don't have the resources to meet the needs of the community," said Love.

The caseload has increased, but their staff hasn't. Love says they would need 18 extra workers to meet this higher demand. Unfortunately the Family Service Center says right now there's no light at the end of the tunnel. Love says the backlog is likely continue until the center receives from local and state funding.

The center says if there's an emergency need for food, they try to serve those first.

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