Grand Rapids Residents May be Eligible for Replacement if they Lost Food Assistance Benefits Due to Storm Power Outage

Contact: Bob Wheaton, Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services, 517-241-2112

February 12, 2019

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has announced that residents of the city of Grand Rapids and surrounding areas affected by the recent power outage may be eligible for replacement food assistance benefits.

MDHHS may be able to replace lost food assistance benefits that are reported by households that are already receiving Food Assistance Program benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Replacement food is not available to anyone who is not already receiving food assistance benefits.

Any Food Assistance Program recipient who has had food spoil as a result of a verified power outage can contact their caseworker to request replacement food benefits. The deadline for requesting replacement benefits is 10 days after the date of the power outage at the household.

Last week’s ice storm resulted in power outages and hazardous driving conditions and caused Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency for the city of Grand Rapids on Saturday.

“The department understands the significant impact this storm and power outage has had on residents of the Grand Rapids area,” said Terrence Beurer, MDHHS deputy director of Field Operations Administration. “We want to make sure that people who are in need still have food to put on their tables to feed their families.”

“Residents in those hardest hit areas should discard anything that is moldy, discolored, or has an unusual odor. MDARD encourages residents to throw anything away if they have any doubt about an item,” said Gary McDowell, director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Potentially hazardous foods like meats, dairy products, eggs, etc.  should be thrown away if they are thawed and were kept at temperatures warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When food isn’t held at the right temperatures, there is a much greater chance for foodborne illness to occur.”