By Sasha McNair, Governmental Affairs Specialist, Food and Nutrition Service
As part of National Preparedness Month and Hurricane Preparedness Week, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released a video featuring a team that traveled to South Carolina in October 2015 to cover the floods that affected more than half of the state. People lost their jobs, cars, and some even lost their homes. USDA takes pride in knowing that along the way we were there, along with our partners in disaster feeding, the South Carolina Department of Social Services and The Salvation Army, to help those most in need.
The team also traveled to New Jersey, a state ravaged by Hurricane Sandy and still recovering from its impact, to show how FNS’ Disaster Household Distribution Program and congregate feeding efforts were able to provide meals to more than 26,000 people. Following the recent flooding in Texas and Louisiana, the 2015 flooding in South Carolina, and Hurricane Sandy, FNS’ Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) provided benefits to eligible individuals who did not qualify for regular SNAP benefits, but who experienced disaster-related expenses, such as loss of income and property. With D-SNAP these families received a little extra help to put food on the table for their families.
Many are unaware of the role USDA plays during disasters; however our programs can play a vital role and have a positive impact on communities when disaster strikes. The purpose of this video is to show our programs in action and educate our partners in disaster feeding. We rely on these partners to be our “boots on the ground” and ensure that families suffering in the wake of a disaster have the resources they need.
Disasters are never easy, but USDA is proud to play a crucial role in lifting the burden that families face. If you are in need of food for your family following a disaster, contact the disaster relief organization in your area to determine where you can find food assistance. For more information on FNS’ disaster nutrition assistance programs, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disasters.