DCF refills SNAP benefits, provides ‘hot food wavier’ to residents hit by Hurricane Idalia

Oregon City, OR, USA - Mar 10, 2022: "We Accept EBT" sign is see
The benefits will be added to EBT cards automatically. Individuals do not need to apply.

Florida residents hit hard by Hurricane Idalia who are dependent on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can now breathe — and get fed — a little easier.

On Sunday, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced two additional “flexibilities” to assist storm-impacted SNAP recipients.

They include:

— An automatic, mass replacement of benefits for individuals who normally receive their monthly benefit between Aug. 15 and 28 in Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Pasco, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla counties. “This will eliminate the need for recipients to submit requests individually in the severely impacted areas,” a DCF press note said.

— A “hot food waiver” allowing SNAP recipients to use their EBT card to purchase hot foods at participating retailers. Qualifying recipients must live in Alachua, Baker, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Madison, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union or Wakulla counties. “Typically, food assistance benefits can only be used to buy unprepared foods, such as breads, cereals, meats, fruits, vegetables, and poultry,” DCF said.

“We believe these flexibilities will help support families through the immediate recovery process, particularly households still awaiting power restoration,” DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris said in a statement. “Our team has deployed to several communities to bring supplies, and additional supports.”

Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend near Keaton Beach minutes before 8 a.m., bringing maximum sustained winds of 125 mph and 7-foot storm surges in some areas.

The maelstrom reached Category 4 strength overnight but weakened by the time it hit a part of the Gulf Coast that hasn’t experienced such deadly storm surges — up to 9 in the island city of Cedar Key and Steinhatchee River — in more than a century.

The mass replacement of benefits will go to 38,000-plus households, providing more than $8 million in food assistance.

Click here for more information on available local resources DCF offers.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Earl Pitts American

    September 3, 2023 at 8:17 pm

    Good evening America,
    This Hot Food Waiver shows the true grnious of our next POTUS Ron Desantis for really careing for the “little guy”.
    Floridians and Americans are all together in their marvalling at the wonderful man known as Desantis.
    Our “little guys” would be eating cold baked beans out of the can under Gillum, Crist, Fried, or that non-serious part-time political dabbeler Gwen Graham.
    Thank you Florida, Thank you America, but most of all thank you to all the “little guys” out there enjoying a hot meal tonight. You guys are who we work for you guys are why we are going to thre White House and clean that whole city up.

    • AveSmith

      September 4, 2023 at 1:09 pm

      According to my younger brother’s acquaintance, The $700 compared to all the millions he’s giving to Ukraine. Why? We need it,” she said. “That’s vs06 why, we don’t understand why. We’re citizens.
      Just open the link……………………………….amazingpay74.blogspot.com

    • Alicia M Walsingham

      September 5, 2023 at 7:00 am

      Please don’t think Desantis went above former Governors. Nor was he the first one to replace benefits and add hot meal option. Replacing benefits is actually one of the first things they do and have been doing it at least the last twenty years. As for the hot meal option, first I heard of it was after Hurricane Michael. I have lived on Florida’s Gulf Coast 54 years and been through my share of storms. Hurricane Michael being the worst I endured first hand. I have no problem giving credit where credit is due but Desantis isn’t the one responsible for this bright idea.

  • Famous Republican

    September 4, 2023 at 3:14 am

    Shoutout to Earl,
    Florida conservatives just love you Earl. Keep on fighting the good fight. None of us care that you cant/dont spellcheck worth a crap. True men of genious often dont have time for all of lifes unimportant BS which the leftist elites claim to be so very important [but only when the got nothing else to b itch and moan about]. Keep it up Earl we love how you throw the Democratic shortcomings in their faces.
    Just a fan

    • Silly Wabbit

      September 4, 2023 at 3:22 pm

      You kwazy.

    • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice on The Right" American

      September 5, 2023 at 2:13 pm

      Excuse me Alicia M Walsimgham,
      But you are not aurthorized to dispute any written words of Earl Pitts American without prior approval.
      Now granted you are a good ‘Ole Gal and everything and we have been on a few dates already … just remember to get my, Earl Pitts American’s approval next time. Earl

  • Sonja Fitch

    September 4, 2023 at 3:28 am

    Thank you leaders of DCS! Good job ! Hope there are some places open that will accept the benefits. Common good!

    • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

      September 4, 2023 at 3:48 am

      Thank you beautiful words of wisdom Ms. Fitch,
      I always knew you have a heart of gold and are a true American Patriot.
      Have a great week Dear Sonja,

  • Ebony Lee

    September 4, 2023 at 6:03 am

    Im thankful that snap has been so helpful during these storms and situations I just don’t understand why lee county isn’t one of the counties able to get hot food even tho we were able to get benefits early also during the hurricane

  • More pseudo-journalism

    September 4, 2023 at 10:58 am

    Speaking of spelling, it would be nice to see the FP headline writer learn to spell. And by putting it in quotes it makes it look like the DeSantis can’t spell “waiver!”

    • Biscuit

      September 4, 2023 at 3:22 pm

      How far up your butt did you have to reach to find the idea that ‘by putting it in quotes it makes it look like the DeSantis can’t spell “waiver!”’?
      That is an absurd conclusion, and a stupid accusation.
      Arf. Stupid human.

  • Candice Stinson

    September 4, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    I did not get my stamps early

    • Kelly K Smith

      September 4, 2023 at 10:39 pm

      Me either, got a text saying I did. But nothing

      • Candice Stinson

        September 5, 2023 at 1:23 am

        They aren’t even doing hot food sooo I’m not sure why they are sharing this incorrect information

  • Doris cavalletti

    September 7, 2023 at 10:21 pm

    Last mayor hurricane that came through our area working people with power outages got disaster food replacement cards. Why not with this hurricane?

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704