USDA Provides Disaster Food Assistance To Southern California
Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner today approved the State of California’s request to operate a Disaster Food Stamp Program (DFSP) in San Diego County from October 21 to November 19, 2007.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered losses as the result of the continuing wildfires in Southern California,” said Conner. “We are closely coordinating with other federal departments to meet the immediate and long-term needs of those affected by the wildfires. In addition to the 2,500 USDA Forest Service firefighting personnel who are assisting, this food assistance to individuals and families in San Diego County will help to ensure their needs are met.”
The USDA Forest Service (FS) deployments are coordinated through the National Interagency Fire Center. In addition to the USDA FS firefighting personnel, resources include: 47 aircraft (which include air tankers & helicopters), 150 fire engines, bull dozers, water tenders and other equipment. The Buckweed fire which was 38,356 acres is now reported as 100% contained. Additionally, the Ranch fire is reported as 70% contained.
The Disaster Food Stamp Program approved today allows people who ordinarily might not qualify for food stamp benefits to be eligible if they had expenses related to protecting, repairing, or evacuating their homes; or if they lost food or income as a result of the disaster. In the DFSP, eligibility and procedural requirements are minimized to enable local agencies to serve large numbers of people quickly and provide a one-month benefit.
People who already are participating in the Food Stamp Program may be eligible for additional benefits under the DFSP if they suffered a disaster-related expense and file a simple affidavit.
Disaster benefits are provided like regular program benefits – through a debit card that can be used at authorized food retailers to buy food. These systems are commonly referred to as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) systems.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service can authorize the issuance of emergency food stamp benefits when the President declares a major disaster. FNS works closely with
Administered by the Food and Nutrition Service, the Food Stamp Program is the cornerstone of USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs that forms the nation’s nutrition safety net. The Program provides a vital supplement to the food budgets of 26 million low-income men, women and children each month. For more information on the Food Stamp Program and USDA, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp or call 1-800/221-5689.
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