USDA Foods assistance can be provided from Child Nutrition Programs to relief agencies. Preferred food service is in congregate settings, however in instances where congregate food service is not feasible or recommended, household distribution may be permitted with federal approval.
The state agency may allow up to 30 days feeding for persons at shelters and mass feeding sites in the case of natural disaster or situation of distress. Federal approval for disaster assistance is required if the disaster is not from a natural event (explosion, strike, etc.), for household feeding, or an extension beyond 30 days.
Key differences between disasters and situations of distress:
|Major Disaster/Emergency Declaration||Situation of Distress|
|Requires a Presidential declaration that indicates Federal assistance is warranted.||No Presidential declaration is required.|
|Guaranteed replacement of USDA Foods by FNS*||Replacement of USDA Foods by FNS HQs to the extent that funds for replacement are available*|
|Distributing Agency has the authority to release USDA Foods for congregate feeding for as long as they are needed*.||Distributing Agency has the authority to release USDA Foods for congregate feeding, but only if the situation is a natural event, and only for up to 30 days.* If not a natural event, FNS HQs must approve and determine duration of assistance.*|
|The Distributing Agency must always obtain approval from FNS HQs via the FNS RO before a USDA Foods Disaster Household Distribution Program is implemented.||The Distributing Agency must always obtain approval from FNS HQs via the FNS RO before a USDA Foods Disaster Household Distribution Program is implemented.|
|*Replacement may be made by crediting USDA Foods program entitlement, reimbursing the State Distributing Agency or providing "in‐kind" replacement USDA Foods|