SNAP Recipients Affected by Northern California Wild Fires Receive USDA Relief
Release No.
FNS 0006.17
Contact
FNS Office of the Chief Communications Officer (703) 305-2281

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 19, 2017 – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program households impacted by the recent wildfires in Northern California will receive support from USDA to replace food lost in the disaster and purchase hot foods at SNAP-authorized retailers through November 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced. 

“The Food and Nutrition Service stands with the citizens of Northern California during this time of devastation and loss,” said FNS Regional Administrator Jesus Mendoza, Jr. “We are continuously working with the California Department of Social Services to ensure those impacted receive the nutrition assistance needed.”

SNAP participants  in Butte, Contra Costa, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, and Yuba counties can purchase hot foods with SNAP benefits.

SNAP households in specific zip codes in Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma and Yuba counties will automatically receive replacement of 60 percent of their October SNAP benefit.   These replacement benefits are intended to cover food purchased earlier in the month and then lost in the disaster. 

Where automatic benefit replacement is not available, a household may contact the local SNAP office and file a written claim for food lost in the disaster.  USDA extended the 10 day timeframe for submitting claims to November 8th for Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Solano, Sonoma, and Yuba counties. 

Allowing SNAP-authorized stores to sell hot foods permits SNAP households who are unable to cook at home due to fire damage or lost power to purchase a hot meal, Mendoza added.   While California does run a restaurant program for the elderly, disabled, and homeless in some of its counties, SNAP guidelines typically do not permit most SNAP households to purchase hot foods at SNAP authorized grocers. Exceptions can be made during a natural disaster, Mendoza said, and these wildfires have affected the ability of many families to cook meals at home. USDA’s actions will provide alternative options for immediate food access.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, WIC, and SNAP, which together comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov

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