Here's what Oklahomans who lost food following storms, power outages need to know
After the strong storms this weekend, hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans were without power – and the ability to keep food refrigerated. Many have had to discard items that have gone bad.
Generally, food in the refrigerator remains safe to eat for four hours after the power goes out. Full freezers can keep food frozen for up to two days if its doors are not opened frequently, according to Oklahoma State University’s storm food safety guide.
Oklahoma organizations and government agencies are offering resources for people who lost food due to the power outages.
The Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma serves many of the counties included in Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat’s Tuesday State of Emergency Declaration. Operating with an emergency response team, the Food Bank has added services to respond to needs created by the storms.
The Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma distributed warm meals from its warehouse in Tulsa, Wednesday. It has also been providing emergency food and water boxes to partner agencies throughout northeast Oklahoma.
Following the storms, the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma saw an increased number of volunteers at its distribution center in Tulsa.
“We’ve had a few hundred extra volunteers helping with this effort, making up the burgers, making up the emergency meal boxes,” said Diana Capra, Advocacy Communications Director. “The folks that don’t need help are providing help to those who do.”
The Food Bank will continue to assess the community’s needs following the storm, and beyond.
“Hunger is a chronic problem in Oklahoma. Day in and day out, the folks at the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma work very hard to help folks in need,” Capra said.
Additional food assistance resources include replacement SNAP benefits for food lost following the storms, food pantries and insurance claims.
- Apply for replacement SNAP benefits. Households that lost food purchased with benefits after this weekend’s storms are able to apply to receive SNAP replacements. Oklahoma Human Services will review destroyed food replacement requests submitted via form or phone call to 405-522-5050. Requests must be made within 10 calendar days of the loss.
Connect with a local food pantry or assistance program.
- In Eastern Oklahoma – The Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma provides food and resources themselves and in collaboration with partner agencies in 24 counties throughout eastern Oklahoma. To find a pantry near you, visit the Food Bank’s online pantry finder. The organization also keeps its social media and website updated with food assistance opportunities and information.
- In Western Oklahoma and Oklahoma City – The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma distributes food through community partners and schools in 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma. To find a pantry near you, visit the Food Bank’s online pantry finder. The organization also keeps its social media and website updated with food assistance opportunities and information.
- In Oklahoma – Dial 211 to get more information on social services including food assistance throughout the state.
- Check with your insurance company. Hunger Free Oklahoma recommends reaching out to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provider to check if it offers coverage for lost food due to power outages.
- Apply for SNAP benefits for future support. Submit an application to receive SNAP benefits online through Oklahoma Human Services. Hunger Free Oklahoma offers information on eligibility and the application process, and provides a SNAP hotline at 1877-760-0114.