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USDA unveils aid for storm-hit Californians
USAgNet - 03/04/2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stepped in to assist Californians reeling from the harsh impacts of severe storms and power outages that began on January 21, 2024. By introducing the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), the USDA aims to extend a lifeline to approximately 4,500 households that find themselves in dire need of food assistance but might not qualify under regular SNAP guidelines.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized the USDA's commitment to supporting affected families, acknowledging the prolonged challenges they face even after the storms have passed. D-SNAP aims to fill this gap by providing eligible households with a one-month benefit to purchase necessary groceries, thus aiding their recovery process.

To qualify, residents must live or work in the disaster-designated areas, be impacted by the disaster, and meet specific D-SNAP criteria. California has scheduled the D-SNAP application process over seven days in early March, with local media set to provide further details on application venues and dates.

This initiative is part of a broader USDA effort to mitigate recent severe weather events in California. Other measures include approving a mass replacements waiver for SNAP participants to compensate for benefits lost due to power outages and a reporting waiver for food losses in 14 counties. Additionally, California's request for non-congregate feeding for childcare food programs has been approved, allowing more flexible meal provision to those in need.

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) underscores this move as part of its broader mission to combat hunger and enhance food and nutrition security across the nation. Through more than 16 nutrition assistance programs, the FNS aims to ensure equitable access to nutritious, safe, and affordable food, aligning with the Biden-Harris Administration's National Strategy to promote nutrition security.

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