STATE HOUSE – While the power outages, damage and other problems caused by Hurricane Sandy have been difficult on the whole area, they are especially devastating on those who were already food-insecure, said Rep. Teresa Tanzi.
Representative Tanzi said those who receive SNAP benefits (food stamps) are eligible for assistance to help replace food that is lost as a result of power outage or other storm-related problems, but they have to act quickly. Those in such a situation need to fill out a form called “SNAP 55,” available from the Department of Human Services, within 10 days of the loss. For help or the form, call the local DHS office at (401) 782-4300, or the SNAP emergency help line, 866-306-0270.
Additionally, the Johnnycake Center’s emergency food pantry will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily until power is restored to the area. (The agency’s administrative offices, client services and store will be closed until power returns). The agency also has water available for anyone who needs drinking water, regardless of whether they are clients.
Representative Tanzi encouraged anyone who is having trouble finding the help they need to call 211 to connect with available emergency assistance or social services. (As always, 911 remains the number to call for emergency medical assistance.) She encouraged those who have Internet access to check the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) website, http://www.riema.ri.gov/, for a host of statewide and local emergency resources, including phone numbers for help, maps of outages and closed roads, and information about food and water safety, cleanup, unemployment and other benefits, and much more.
“It has been very difficult to access information without power in our area, and I hate to think of all the people who are going without because they don’t know where to turn or are afraid to ask for help. If you don’t know and you don’t know how to find out, start by checking the website if you can, or by calling 211 for information,” she said.