The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a temporary waiver last week that will allow participants in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/CalFresh in nine California counties to buy hot foods with their benefits through Oct. 28. 

According to a release issued by the department, hot foods cannot be bought using SNAP benefits under normal circumstances but SNAP authorized retailers have been notified of the waiver approval at this time. 

“USDA emphasized the importance of the waiver, noting that many California residents evacuated to shelters cannot store food and lack access to cooking facilities as a result,” it was stated in the release. 

The waiver went into effect immediately and applies to the counties of Glenn, Tehama, Trinity, Butte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Plumas, Shasta and Siskiyou. 

According to the release, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is ready to consider additional waivers that may be needed to help program participants who have lost food due to the disaster and to simplify the application process for affected households, upon request from the California Department of Social Services.

“USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system,” read the release. “Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” 

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