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Office for Food and Nutrition Programs

Procedures for Using USDA Commodity Foods During a Disaster

To:All School and Child and Adult Care Sponsors
From:Commodity Distribution
Date:August 29, 2008


After approval from this office, USDA donated foods will be made available to the American Red Cross or public schools for feeding in a congregate setting. The following steps are to be used to receive food assistance for mass feedings.

First, contact the food distribution section at, or 781-338-6473, we prefer email, with your immediate food needs, along with the estimated number of meals to be served. Include the following information to the extent possible:

  • Description of major disaster or emergency situation
  • Number of people requiring meals and congregate meal service period
  • Quantity and types of food needed for congregate meal service
  • Number and location of sites providing congregate meal service

Once the request for donated foods is approved, you may use any USDA donated foods available at your school. After the crisis has passed, please report the following information to the commodity distribution section:

  • Amount of USDA commodities actually utilized
  • Number of days of the mass feeding and number of meals actually served (i.e. 2,000 persons, three meals per day for five days).

We will make every effort to replace the value of USDA donated foods used with inventory from our warehouse.

Last Updated: September 5, 2008

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