Hurricane Irma has taken a toll on regions impacted by the storm, with flooding, power outages, powerful winds, and food shortages. The latter is an especially difficult situation for survivors, as most sources of food — markets, restaurants, and convenience stores — are without power and access to fresh ingredients.
As for supermarkets, they are either destroyed or have empty shelves. Many supermarkets are closed while affected regions like Florida recover from the natural disaster, reports CNBC. Perishable ingredients (say, milk and eggs) are expected to be delayed in their arrival.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (the USDA) has changed some rules to help those who are food insecure. They have permitted food stamp users — those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — in Florida and Texas to use their stamps to buy ready-to-eat meals. This special benefit will be available to those living in Florida and Texas until the end of September.
"Working with our state and private-sector partners, we are actively taking measures to ensure that people in these areas get the food they need," Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement Tuesday, reports USA Today.
Want to Get Involved? Here's What to Do.
Looking to give back? There are plenty of places to offer up your funds to make a difference. Oxfam is working to provide clean water and sanitation, while Convoy of Hope is focusing on providing food and emergency supplies to the victims residing in the U.S., Haiti, and Cuba. You can also contribute to Feeding Florida, which is collaborating with local food banks within the state, and crowdfunding site GlobalGiving's "Hurricane Irma Relief Fund" promises to provide victims with food, water, and medicine.