Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Use of USDA Foods in Disaster Feeding


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

To: All Sponsors of National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, County Superintendents of Schools, Diocesan Superintendents of Schools

Number: 02-401

Attention: Food Services Directors

Date: March 2002

From: Food Distribution Program

Subject: Use of U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods in Disaster Feeding

This management bulletin (MB) provides a review of information and guidance on the use of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods during or following a disaster.

USDA regulations (7CFR, Part 250) authorize release of USDA Foods to recognized disaster relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross or the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, when a disaster occurs. A school may be selected as a feeding site or they may be requested to provide food at another site. Upon request from the recognized disaster relief organization, USDA-donated foods must be released.

The following information must be obtained from the recognized disaster relief agency before releasing any food:

  • Description of the disaster situation
  • Approximate number of people requiring meals
  • Quantity and type of food needed
  • Number and location of feeding sites
  • Name of the disaster relief agency requesting assistance (organization’s name, representative’s name, address, and telephone number)

The Nutrition Services Division (NSD) must be notified, either verbally or in writing (staff contacts are listed below), with the above information as soon as feasible. Additional food may be requested from NSD if the school’s donated food supply is not adequate to meet the disaster needs.

The school must keep accurate records, including the following:

  • Type and quantity of USDA Foods used
  • Number of people fed, by date and meal
  • Name of the site(s) where USDA Foods was used

When the disaster has ended, this information must be submitted within five days after the last day of feeding to:

Amy Bell
Nutrition Services Division
1430 N Street, Suite 4350
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-322-5051
Fax: 916-327-4004

or

Sherry Tam
Nutrition Services Division
1430 N Street, Suite 4350
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-324-9875
Fax: 916-327-4004

Disaster relief agencies may request that a school provide them with items other than USDA-donated food. All such items must be paid for by the requesting disaster relief agency. The State can only replace USDA-donated food issued to, and used by, the disaster relief organization.

NSD contact for coordinating disaster foods:

Amy Bell
Food Distribution Program
Phone: 916-322-5051

You may visit the USDA Disaster Assistance Web page at https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/usda-foods-disaster-assistance for answers to frequently asked questions about food assistance in disaster situations.

If you have any questions regarding this Management Bulletin, please contact Amy Bell, Child Nutrition Consultant, Food Distribution Program, at 916-322-5051 or by email at abell@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • SP 03-2022: Supply Chain Assistance Funds (added 24-Jan-2022)
    Announces new federal funding to alleviate supply chain challenges and associated financial difficulties.
  • ACTION: 2022–23 FFVP Request for Applications (added 20-Jan-2022)
    The CDE NSD announces a grant opportunity for elementary schools to participate in the FFVP. The FFVP grant period is July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023. All eligible agencies, both current FFVP grantees and new applicants, must respond online to this RFA.
  • Outreach: 2022–23 FFVP Request for Applications (added 20-Jan-2022)
    The CDE NSD announces a grant opportunity for elementary schools to participate in the FFVP. The FFVP grant period is July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023. All eligible agencies, both current FFVP grantees and new applicants, must respond online to this RFA.
  • USDA Foods Available List for SY 2022-23 (added 20-Jan-2022)
    Announcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recently published the USDA Foods Available List and the USDA Foods Processor Material Prices for School Year (SY) 20221–23.
  • New FFVP Guidance: Weekly Servings Flexibility (added 19-Jan-2022)
    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and labor and supply shortages for SY 2021–22, the CDE is releasing optional flexibilities for the FFVP. These flexibilities should be used on an as-needed basis and are in effect for the duration of SY 2021–22.

  • Pandemic EBT Local Administrative Grant (added 18-Jan-2022)
    Pandemic EBT Local Administrative Cost Grant Award for School Year 2020–21. The CDE will issue P-EBT Local Administrative Cost Grant awards to eligible LEAs in March 2022.
  • Interstate Meat Dist. Inc. Recalls Ground Beef (added 10-Jan-2022)
    Interstate Meat Dist. Inc. recalls ground beef products due to possible E. Coli O157:H7 contamination.
  • Updates to the Federal Micropurchase Threshold (added 03-Jan-2022)
    This information contains updates to the official policies surrounding the new micropurchase threshold.
  • ECR Funds Now Available for Eligible SNP Operators (added 22-Dec-2021)
    The California Department of Education (CDE) has disbursed the Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement (ECR) Program funds to all eligible School Nutrition Program (SNP) Operators through the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS).
  • ECR Funds Available for Eligible CACFP Operators (added 22-Dec-2021)
    The California Department of Education (CDE) has disbursed the Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Program funds to all eligible Child and Adult Care Food Program Operators through the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System.