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
  • ISNPA Webinar: Resource Management (added 01-Jul-2022)
    Introduction to School Nutrition Program Administration (ISNPA) webinar series for local school nutrition directors, managers, and nutrition staff. Resource Management training will be offered on July 19, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Permanent Single Agreement (added 01-Jul-2022)
    The CDE/NSD has revised and is releasing the updated Permanent Single Agreement.
  • DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Reminders (added 01-Jul-2022)
    DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program reminders.
  • Determining Severe Need and 2 Cent Differential (added 29-Jun-2022)
    Determining eligibility for severe need reimbursement for the School Breakfast Program and the Two Cent Differential Reimbursement for the National School Lunch Program in School Years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024.
  • Transitional Meal Standards SY 2022–23 and 2023–24 (added 27-Jun-2022)
    This management bulletin provides information regarding the transitional meal standards for school meal programs effective July 1, 2022, and through School Year (SY) 2023–24.