Food and Nutrition Service
HomeAbout FNSNewsroomHelpContact USEn Espanol




Search all USDA
Search Tips
Search Tips
Email Updates

Sign-up to receive free email updates

Community Outreach
Data and Statistics
Disaster Assistance
Food Safety
Nutrition Education
Regulations & Policy
Services & Programs

Hurricane Gustav

The Food & Nutrition Service is working with state and local officials to ensure that individuals and families affected by the 2008 hurricanes and tornadoes have access to food.  Through its Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), people who might not ordinarily qualify for SNAP benefits may be eligible if they have had disaster damage to their homes or expenses related to protecting their homes, or if they have lost income as a result of the disaster, or have no access to bank accounts or other resources.
FNS also makes USDA commodity foods available to disaster relief agencies to assist with feeding people at shelters and mass feeding sites.
Information about specific hurricane disaster assistance is listed below:
Bullet Hurricane Ike
Sept. 28 Update:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Both Louisiana and Texas requested to employ telephone-based application and certification processes to respond to D-SNAP and SNAP applications filed by Hurricane Gustav and Ike victims.  FNS denied the requests as submitted, as the requests would have allowed applicants to complete the application process without signing their application or being interviewed in person.  However, FNS approved each State to operate a telephone-based application filing process, as long as applicants appear in person at an application site to receive a face-to-face interview, provide required verification, sign their application, and receive their benefit card.

FNS approved Texas requests to:
o Issue expedited SNAP benefits by allowing anyone living in or evacuated from disaster counties (listed below) to receive expedited service in order to speed food assistance to those not already certified for benefits, but newly eligible due to Hurricane Ike.
Angelina Hardin Montgomery Trinity
Austin Harris Nacogdoches Tyler
Brazoria Houston Newton Walker
Chambers Jasper Orange Waller
Cherokee Jefferson Polk Washington
Fort Bend Liberty Sabine  
Galveston Madison San Augustine  
Grimes Matagorda San Jacinto  
o Allow purchase of hot foods with SNAP benefits at authorized grocery retailers statewide
o Issue mass replacement of SNAP benefits at 70 percent of September allotment to existing program recipients in 31 counties affected by power outages.
o  Extend reporting of food losses purchased with SNAP benefits from 10 to 20 days.
o Ease or delay reporting requirements to address increased program demand.
o Ignore non-liquid assets when determining eligibility.  This waiver allows those with perhaps substantial non-liquid assets, those resources that cannot be quickly converted to cash, to be ignored, since households do not have those resources available to buy food.
o To amend its Modified SNAP and use a Standard Disaster Expense Deduction in addition to the ordinary income exclusions and deductions that they have been using in order to provide sufficient food assistance to newly applying households in the 29 counties affected by Hurricane Ike.
FNS approved Louisiana requests to:
o On Oct. 23, FNS amended approved Louisiana’s request to issue a second full month of D-SNAP benefits and supplements to ongoing households in the  seven parishes impacted by both Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike and  that have already been approved for D-SNAP benefits under the Gustav D-SNAP.  The seven parishes are Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, St. Mary, Terrebonne, and Vermilion.
o Operate the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for 14 parishes that received Presidential disaster declarations with individual assistance as a result of Hurricane Ike. 
Acadia Iberia Plaquemines Vermilion
Beauregard Jefferson Sabine Vernon
Calcasieu Jefferson Davis St. Mary  
Cameron Lafourche Terrebonne  
o On Sept. 23, FNS granted mass replacement of September SNAP benefits at 50 percent of the September allotment, or $10, whichever is greater to regular SNAP recipients in 14 Louisiana parishes affected by power outages as a result of Hurricane Ike.
o On Sept. 23, FNS approved Louisiana’s request for authority to allow non-merit workers to perform certification functions for their Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program operation following Hurricane Ike, specifically allowing volunteers and other non-State agency employees to interview households and determine their eligibility for the program in order to speed food aid to disaster victims.
FNS approved Indiana's requests to:
o Operate the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 3 counties that received Presidential disaster declarations with individual assistance due to recent flooding.
Lake LaPorte Porter  
-- To obtain information on how and where to apply for SNAP benefits, call:
     1-877-541-7905   (for Texas residents who evacuated to another state)
     2-1-1                  (for residents who evacuated to another area of the state) 
     1-888-LAHELPU    (for Louisiana residents)
-- Hurricane Response: 2008 Evacuee Policy (revised)
-- Released 6 truckloads of USDA commodities on Sept. 18 from Federal inventory
    that are suitable for household distribution to be delivered to food banks in
    Houston and Beaumont to serve disaster affected households for a period of
    7 days.
-- Purchased over $500,000 worth of infant formula on Sept. 18 for delivery to food
    banks in Houston and Beaumont to meet the needs of 10,000 infants for the next
    7 days. 
-- Approximately 60,000 pounds of USDA commodity food products valued at over
    $68,000 were delivered on Sept. 15 to the San Antonio Food Bank and Second
    Harvest Affiliate -- End Hunger Food Bank in Houston.
-- 25,000 pounds of commodities valued at $25,000 were delivered on Sept. 13,
    to the East Texas Food Bank. Specific commodities shipped include fruits,
    vegetables, peanut butter, pasta, rice, cheese and meats that will be used for
    meals served at congregate feeding sites.
-- USDA has approximately 282 truckloads of commodities in transit for September
    delivery to Texas warehouses.
-- FNS secured delivery of over 30,000 jars of baby food for use at five feeding sites
    in Texas to serve victims of Hurricane Ike. 
-- FNS purchased approximately $200,000 in infant formula for delivery to feeding
    sites in Texas to serve Hurricane Ike evacuees.
School Meals
-- FNS approved a Texas request for several administrative accommodations
    (waivers) in National School Lunch and School Breakfast program accountability
    procedures, for schools affected by Hurricane Ike.  Schools that can not maintain
    normal accountability procedures can offer all free meals for two weeks and at the
    discretion of the State Director that authority may be extended for an additional
    two weeks have greater flexibility in meal pattern compliance in recognition of the
    near term problems with a healthy food supply.
Summer Food Service Program

-- In a limited number of schools located in Houston, FNS has made accommodations
    that would allow the Summer Food Service Program to be operated in these
    schools through the end of September.

Child and Adult Care Food Program
-- Provided Texas flexibility in the operations of the Child and Adult Care Food
    Program (CACFP), including the ability to approve emergency shelters as
    providers without normal application requirements.  CACFP providers may also
    extend free meal eligibility to children who are temporarily homeless, and to
    children receiving food stamps, and are allowed meal pattern flexibility due to
    limited availability of foods.

Additional Information

Bullet FNS Fact Sheet:  Food Assistance for Disaster Relief
Bullet FNS FAQs: Food Assistance in Disaster Situations
Bullet Disaster Food Stamp Handbook
Bullet USDA Hurricane Relief Information
Bullet USDA Emergency Preparedness and Response
Bullet - Additional Disaster Information

Bullet - Hurricane Response and Recovery


Last modified: 07/25/2013