Federal lawmakers and advocates are urging Gov. Rick Scott to take steps to ensure that Floridians have adequate access to food after Hurricane Irma. The group asked the governor to seek additional assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to further meet the needs of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens during this time.
The request includes a waiver for WIC moms to replace lost, spoiled or damaged baby formula as well as allowing more flexibility in the purchase of allowable foods due to shortages.
“One of the most effective ways we can immediately help those impacted by the hurricane is by making sure that people have access to food,” said Rep. Al Lawson. “By making these additional requests, similar to those made by Texas after Hurricane Harvey, we can ensure that food assistance is part of our comprehensive recovery efforts.”
USDA has already approved Florida’s request to allow SNAP recipients to purchase hot and ready-to-eat meals. The state has also issued early SNAP benefits for September.
A letter signed by U.S. Reps. Al Lawson, along with Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee L. Hastings, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Frederica Wilson, outlines several potential requests that the governor can make including: increasing the number of food packages for food banks, allowing replacement benefits for SNAP and WIC recipients, activating disaster-SNAP, requesting an evacuee policy, delaying reporting requirements, and offering free meals to students through the school lunch and breakfast program.
United Ways and other state advocates are lending their support to this request. Voice your support to by emailing the Governor’s office.