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Did your food spoil after the derecho? You may qualify for food assistance if you live in Linn County

Aid available for those not already getting SNAP benefits

Taylor Zebuhr, 16, gives packaged meals to residents at the Northwest Recreation Center in Cedar Rapids on Aug. 21. (Jim
Taylor Zebuhr, 16, gives packaged meals to residents at the Northwest Recreation Center in Cedar Rapids on Aug. 21. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Neighborhood Resource Centers set up by the city to help provide emergency storm relief following the derecho have closed, but Linn County residents still can request emergency food assistance.

Linn County residents can apply for disaster food assistance at three sites in Cedar Rapids this week, through Sept. 6.

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP, is available for residents not already receiving SNAP benefits for August or September.

Households that already receive SNAP benefits may request replacement of destroyed food until Sept. 17 by downloading and filling out a form on the Iowa Department of Human Services website and emailing a clear image of it to ImagingCenter5@dhs.state.ia.us or filling out a paper form, available at the local DHS office, 1240 26th Ave. Court SW, Cedar Rapids.

The D-SNAP program allows the DHS to offer the assistance to residents affected by the Aug. 10 derecho and subsequent power outages, under the Presidential Disaster Declaration for Linn County.

Residents who are eligible will receive an EBT card that can be used to purchase food at any SNAP-authorized retailer, including farmers markets and certain online retailers.

People are eligible if they have suffered one or more of the following disaster-related expenses:

• Destroyed or spoiled food

• Lost or no access to income due to the disaster, including reduced, terminated or delayed receipt of income

•Temporary shelter expenses

• Evacuation or relocation expenses

• Home or business protection

• Disaster-related personal injury.

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DHS workers will complete applications on-site during an interview with applicants. People must apply in person to qualify.

Applications sites will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The first hour of the day is reserved for the elderly and individuals with disabilities.

Sites are the Cedar Rapids Ladd Library parking lot, 3750 Williams Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids; the U.S. Cellular Center, 370 First Ave. NE, in downtown Cedar Rapids; and the Marion Square Shopping Center, 1107 Seventh Ave., Marion.

People may review the application before applying on the DHS website, under Application for Disaster Food Assistance.

Applicants will be asked to provide information about their household, income during the 30-day disaster period and expenses paid due to the derecho, and will need to provide proof of identification and are encouraged to bring something showing their Linn County address.

Sites will have access to Language Line teletranslation services, and all applications will be provided in Creole, English, French, Kirundi, Spanish and Swahili.

While applicants may apply at any time and at any site. However, DHS is encouraging applicants to follow this schedule based on the first letter of their last name:

Sept. 1 — E-I, Sept; 2 — J-O; Sept. 3 — P-S; Sept. 4 — T-Z; and Sept 5 and 6 — open.

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The city’s Neighborhood Resource Centers that now have closed were set up to provide meals, supplies, information and access to mental health and legal services for two weeks following the storm.

Residents can continue to find information about services at CityofCR.org or by contacting United Way 2-1-1.

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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