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ASG gets one-time-only $500K grant for food assistance for Gita victims

A home in American Samoa destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Gita.
Source: ASG media release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga announced, yesterday, Sept. 18, 2018 that the US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services (USDA FNS) has awarded a grant of $500,000 to the American Samoa Government pursuant to the authorities contained in the Section 4(a) of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973, which authorizes disaster payments to provide supplemental disaster feeding benefits.

The purpose of this grant award is to provide benefits to the victims of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

In announcing the award, the governor said, “I am very grateful to the US Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, for his favorable consideration of a request I submitted in March for emergency food assistance for those affected by Tropical Cyclone Gita”.

Because of the limited amount of funding, benefits will be issued one time only in the form of food coupons to very low-income families who were affected by the disaster and who can demonstrate that their need for food assistance is greater.

The American Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program under the Department of Human and Social Services will administer the program using a Disaster Relief Food Assistance Plan that will be approved by Food and Nutrition Services.

DHSS will announce in the coming days how families may qualify for disaster food assistance along with other pertinent information that include the dates and locations where applications will be accepted; timeline for the issuance of benefits; retail stores where they can use their food coupons; and expiration dates of those benefits.

In conclusion, Gov. Lolo said, “On behalf of the people of American Samoa, I also want to extend my sincere fa’afetai tele and appreciation to the Food and Nutrition Services teams at the national and regional levels for their support of this request. I particularly want to commend the Western Region team in San Francisco under the leadership of Regional Administrator, Jesus Mendez along with Regional Disaster Coordinator Maribelle Balbes, Regional SNAP director Dennis Steward and all their colleagues for their hard work and support in the past several months to make this grant award possible.”