New Texas policies aim to help recover food lost during winter storm

Local News

AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Governor Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced two new policies this week aimed at helping low-income Texans recover food lost during last week’s severe winter storm.  

Current snap recipients in the 66 impacted counties that were affected by food loss or that were destroyed due to the winter storm are receiving approval for automatic replacement benefits.

“It is helping to replenish food that was lost. SNAP is one of those ways where we can put food on the table and folks can use it to purchase food as they qualify and replacement snap here will help cover that loss moving forward,” said Zack Wilson, executive director for High Plains Food Bank.

Individuals that live in these counties do not need to take any action and do not need to call 2-1-1 to receive their replacement benefits.

Recipients in the affected counties will automatically receive a percentage of their February benefit allotment on their lone star cards by March 4th.

Texans who do not live in one of the 66 eligible counties have until March 31st to report snap food loss and request replacement benefits, while SNAP recipients in the 66 counties most affected can also report other food loss and request additional benefits until March 31st as well.

“Although the Texas Panhandle did not experience the level of widespread and prolonged utility outages that our neighbors in other parts of Texas did, many local households were still negatively impacted by the winter storm,” said Wilson.

“We’re grateful that 2-1-1 can help SNAP recipients quickly recoup benefits to replace food lost due to the winter storm. For others struggling to have enough to eat, our network of 194 agency feeding partners provides emergency food assistance. We also have a social services team dedicated to helping individuals and families with the application process for SNAP and other life-stabilizing benefits for which they qualify.”

Wilson added another change during this time is SNAP recipients can also use their food benefits to purchase hot foods and ready-to-eat meals.

“This is more of a prepared meal that is ready to go, ready to eat. Those that can be purchased through a vendor that is qualified to be on the SNAP program.”

Texas Health & Human Services Commission added that the Hot Foods waiver is federally approved through March 31st.

For a list of Texas Panhandle feeding partners and resources, visit here. To request a SNAP application appointment with High Plains Food Bank’s social services team, visit here.

To check benefit amounts deposited on a card, SNAP recipients with an online account can visit, or they can call the Lone Star Help Desk at 800-777-7328.

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