SNAP food replacement in wildfire-hit Maui announced

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A volunteer helps to pass out food at the Honokōwai Beach Park on Aug. 13. PC: Megan Moseley

The US Department of Agriculture announced that households impacted by wildfires in Hawaiʻi could be eligible for replacement of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits. This step was taken to ensure those in need who were impacted by the Hawaiʻi wildfires have food to eat.

Rather than require SNAP households to report food losses individually, USDA allowed the State of Hawaiʻi to approve automatic mass replacements for residents in Maui County who lost food as a result of the wildfires. More details will be made available through the Hawaiʻi State Department of Human Services.

SNAP participants in areas hardest hit by the disaster may have their August benefits replaced. SNAP recipients residing in other affected areas may request replacement benefits by filing an affidavit with the local office attesting to disaster-related loss.


Additionally, USDA has approved Hawaiʻi’s request to extend the temporary waiver allowing SNAP participants in Hawaiʻi to buy hot foods with their benefits through Oct. 14, 2023. USDA emphasized the importance of the waiver, noting that many Hawaiʻi residents evacuated to shelters cannot store food and lack access to cooking facilities as a result. Under normal circumstances, hot foods cannot be bought using SNAP benefits. SNAP authorized retailers have been notified of the approval.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 16 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being.


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