Woman taken grocery shopping after $600 in SNAP benefits stolen

The Albany mother who said her SNAP benefits were stolen got the help she needed to feed her two children this week, thanks in part to 13Investigates.

Fayette Dowdell said she was struggling to get by until her SNAP account replenishes on Nov. 2.

She received several offers from the community to pay for groceries or send her money. She decided to take up an offer from a local Bishop.

Bishop Avery Comithier, with Elijah Missionary Baptist Church, took Fayette grocery shopping at Walmart.

13Investigates was able to get the two connected after Bishop Comithier watched the story. Fayette said $600 in SNAP benefits were stolen from her account last week.

Fayette said it left her wondering how she would feed her two kids.

Albany County Social Services said this has happened to hundreds of people in the Capital Region through skimming.

It’s a type of theft that uses illegal devices placed over card-reading machines and takes your card information.

Fayette said when Bishop Comithier offered to take her grocery shopping, she started to cry because her prayers were answered.

“I’m going home with groceries. I’m going to be able to fill up my refrigerator. I know my refrigerator is going to be happy! I know I’m happy. My son’s going to be happy,” Fayette said. “I want to thank all the people that reached out to me. I’m really grateful and blessed.”

There is some more good news: after 13Investigates reached out to social services, Fayette got a call from the department. She said she was told her stolen SNAP benefits will go back into her account.

“This is what community is all about. You don’t have to know each other. Just see the need,” Bishop Comithier said.

The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) said anyone who has their benefits stolen should contact the EBT Customer Service Helpline immediately to report their card stolen and request a replacement EBT card.

The EBT Customer Service Helpline can contacted by calling 1-888-328-6399, visiting ConnectEBT or through the ConnectEBT mobile app. More information about stolen benefits can be found on the OTDA website.