Food Assistance for Disaster Relief
Providing food to people in need of assistance following a storm, earthquake, flood or other disaster emergency.

As part of the National Response Framework, USDA supplies food to disaster relief organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army for mass feeding or household distribution. State agencies notify USDA of the types and quantities of food that relief organizations need for emergency feeding operations.

When the President or other authorized official has declared a major disaster or a situation of distress, disaster organizations may request approval from the TDA to receive USDA Foods for use in providing congregate meal service to disaster victims.

Use of USDA Foods in Disaster Shelters


Although people living on or near the coast are primarily affected by hurricanes, schools anywhere in the state may be called upon to open shelters to house and feed people forced inland. In the event of a Presidential declaration of disaster or emergency, shelters for evacuees may be established.

The state’s mass care coordinator must approve shelters and may request USDA food to help support the shelters and provide meals to evacuees. If so, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) will call upon the contracted commercial warehouses for food.

For more information on the use of USDA Foods during disaster, please see USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Disaster Manual at

* The same information applies to disasters other than those caused by hurricanes.

Guidelines for Schools as Authorized Shelters

Some schools may become authorized shelters or meal providers for evacuees. If these schools use USDA foods to prepare the meals, they will be credited the amount of USDA foods used in their Entitlement Account. For this to occur, school districts will be asked to provide the following information to the TDA Commodity Operations Section.    
  1. As school districts begin to open shelters, immediately notify John Kyere at TDA via e-mail at or at 512-475-0077 to advise of shelters and shelter locations that will be opened.
  2. If a district uses USDA foods to provide meals, within 30 days of closing a shelter, the district must track and report the following:
    • Distribution period: dates USDA foods are used to assist in congregate feeding
    • Commodity description: the type of USDA food used with USDA commodity code (reference Texas Unified Nutrition Programs System – TX-UNPS)
    • Number of cases: the quantity of USDA food used
    • Number of persons served

Should you have any questions, please call John Kyere, Program Specialist, at 512-475-0077 or Cristina Rodriguez, Program Specialist, at 512-463-7444.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Texas Department of Agriculture

Commissioner Sid Miller