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More food funding for American Samoa’s low-income residents

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga
Source: Governor's Office

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga announced last Friday that the US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) has approved American Samoa’s implementation plan to provide additional supplemental disaster recovery food assistance for American Samoa’s low-income residents who continue to recover from the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Gita and who meet financial and non-financial eligibility criteria established for this assistance.

Governor Lolo said, “I am very grateful to the USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and the FNS Western Regional Administrator Jesus Mendoza for their continued support of American Samoa as demonstrated by their favorable approval of our implementation plan.”

He continued, “This is the second time that we received disaster food assistance funding from USDA as a result of a request I made to Secretary Perdue in March 2018 and subsequent efforts for disaster relief food assistance for American Samoa’s residents who were affected by Gita. In September 2018, USDA awarded a $500,000 grant for short-term disaster relief food assistance that benefited around 2,300 residents while this second grant will benefit thousands of households who will be receiving monthly benefits through this program.”

This assistance was authorized through the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. The Act made available $18 million for the USDA Secretary to provide a grant to American Samoa for disaster nutrition assistance in response to the presidential declared major disasters and emergencies, provided that funds to the territory under this section shall remain available for obligation by the territory until Sept. 30, 2020.

The American Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program (ASNAP), a division of the Department of Human and Social Services will administrater the Additional Supplemental Recovery Assistance (ASDRFA) Program.

Current ASNAP participants who qualify for ASRFA will also have their ASNAP benefit levels increased and supplemental by ASDRFA funding to match the maximum benefit level established for ASDRFA participants.

ASDRFA benefits will be available only during FY 2020 and issued on a monthly basis in the form of food coupons at a maximum benefit level of $139 for a single-person household and $104 for each additional qualified household member.

DHSS will announce in October how families may qualify for ASDRFA benefits along with other pertinent information that include the dates and locations where applicants will be accepted; timeline for the issuance of benefits; retail stores to use their food coupons; and expiration dates of ASDRFA benefits.

“On behalf of the people of American Samoa, I also extend my sincere appreciation to the USDA FNS teams at the national and regional levels for their continued support of nutrition assistance programs for low-income residents of American Samoa,” Lolo concluded.