Updates on how federal nutrition programs are responding to meet the needs of survivors in the wake of recent hurricanes, wildfires, and mudslides. Be sure to visit also our special Disaster Relief web page.

January 12

Delivery of temporary SNAP benefits to disaster victims in Texas and Florida drove up national participation in SNAP in October 2017 compared with October 2016, even as caseloads declined over the year in the District of Columbia and all other states except for Alaska. In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, participation in SNAP in October 2017 increased over the prior October by 2,093,812 persons in Texas and 2,518,826 persons in Florida. Nationally, the average SNAP participation level was 45,641,674 persons, the highest level since March 2015. See FRAC’s analysis and state-by-state SNAP trends tables.

December 27

The USDA Food & Nutrition Service approved extended waivers for schools still dealing with the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

December 21

Mass SNAP benefit replacements were issued for Californians in the wake of recent wildfires.

October 31

U.S. Virgin Islands households recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria may be eligible for food purchasing assistance through the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).

October 23

Households impacted by recent wildfires in Northern California could be eligible for help buying food through D-SNAP.

October 21

Florida’s D-SNAP program, Food for Florida, opens in Orange and Seminole counties.

October 17

Households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in specific California counties affected by wildfires can use SNAP to purchase hot foods at SNAP-authorized retailers through November 15.

October 16

More than 932,000 Harris County, Texas residents have received D-SNAP, according to the Texas Department of Healthy and Human Services. The agency also noted that the state will have offered D-SNAP for 18 days by the time the program closes on Friday, October 20. Normally, the program is offered for up to seven days.

October 14

Households receiving SNAP in impacted zip codes in California counties can receive automatic SNAP replacement benefits on their EBT cards. These individuals and families will not have to appear at the local SNAP office to sign an affidavit attesting to food loss.

October 13

Households in eight California counties now have until November 8 to report SNAP food loss due to wildfires and request replacement benefits.

October 2

Individuals receiving benefits under Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP), who have been displaced due to the recent hurricanes, can apply for SNAP benefits in the area where they currently reside, the USDA today announced.

This ensures that NAP participants who relocated as a result of destruction from hurricanes Irma and Maria receive much needed nutrition assistance even though they may not be able to close their current case in Puerto Rico, as would be necessary under regular procedures. The policy will facilitate access to nutritious food for households in immediate need, since NAP benefits cannot be used outside Puerto Rico.

September 26

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue hosted a Fire Briefing over funds to fight wildfires currently ravaging 10 states across the West Coast. Costs of the wildfires have exceeded $2 billion, the most expensive year on record.

September 22

Floridians impacted by Hurricane Irma can now apply for D-SNAP benefits.

For information about food assistance more generally in the wake of recent hurricanes, you can use USDA’s National Hunger Hotline, which can connect callers with emergency food providers in their community, as well as other social services. The hotline can be reached at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish) from Monday through Friday (7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET).

September 19

Georgia students impacted by Hurricane Irma can access free school meals for all of September.

September 16

Schools in affected areas of Florida will provide free school meals to students through October 20, via the National School Lunch Program. Sites operating summer meals can also provide free food during any unanticipated school closures that might occur throughout the year.

State social services in Texas are allowing displaced Hurricane Harvey survivors to apply for D-SNAP benefits outside of their home counties. An additional seven counties have been rendered eligible for nutrition assistance through D-SNAP.

September 13

People in counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas can begin applying for benefits through D-SNAP. Eligible households will receive two months of benefits through the program.

SNAP recipients in the U.S. Virgin Islands have the ability to buy hot foods with existing benefits through November 13.

September 10

Ahead of Hurricane Irma’s landfall, Georgia issued clients’ remaining SNAP benefits for September, earlier than previously scheduled.

September 7

Florida, the first state to be hit by the approaching Hurricane Irma, allowed SNAP benefit recipients to access September benefits early. Authorities also approved a hot food waiver to increase access to readily available food.

In Oregon, Summer Food Service Program sites can now operate congregate meal services on days where wildfires compromise air quality.

September 5 

Before Hurricane Irma hit, Puerto Rico provided all SNAP recipients with September benefits.

September 1

Louisiana recalculated Community Eligibility participant percentages in order to expand school meals in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

SNAP recipients in Texas counties affected by Hurricane Harvey had September benefits loaded automatically on their Lone Star cards.

August 29

Houston started supplying school meals – breakfast, lunch, and afterschool – for free to all available students through September 30th, thanks to community eligibility.