Rep. Al Lawson‘s Congressional District 5 sprawls from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, and a common thread in much of his district is food scarcity.
If Hurricane Irma makes landfall as expected, food scarcity issues could be a reality for many Floridians; Lawson, a member of the House Agricultural Committee, asserted Friday that Florida should “petition the U.S. Department of Agriculture for additional support.”
“Like Texas’ requests for disaster food assistance during Harvey, the state of Florida is in an excellent position to ensure Floridians have adequate nourishment in what could be difficult times. If Irma makes landfall,Florida can make several requests of the USDA that lighten the load for Floridians,” Lawson wrote in the Tallahassee Democrat.
Among Lawson’s recommendations: allowing for purchase of hot meals via food stamps when other options aren’t available; “an evacuee policy that allows affected residents to receive Food Stamps if they have evacuated to another state, and were not eligible prior”; boosting supplies for food banks; using FEMA to deliver commodities to shelters and people who need them; food help for low-income mothers with young children; and food stamp benefits for food replacement.
“If Irma is anything like Harvey in terms of damage,” Lawson writes, “I look forward to working with local, state, and federal officials to guarantee that food assistance is a vital part of Florida’s recovery efforts.”
Lawson has called attention to food deserts multiple times since becoming a Congressman; what he anticipates here is a crisis of an even more epic dimension.