DCF Prepares for 2016 Hurricane Season with Food for Florida Exercise


May 12, 2016

DCF Prepares for 2016 Hurricane Season with Food for Florida Exercise

TALLAHASSEE— The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) began a two-day disaster exercise of the Food for Florida program today in Ocala. More than 150 employees will participate in the exercise to test equipment and ensure the department is ready to quickly distribute food benefits to eligible families if a disaster strikes.

“Each year we take time to prepare and train for hurricane season, because when a disaster hits, it’s critical that we help meet the needs of Floridians by providing food assistance,” Secretary Mike Carroll said. “This exercise allows us to examine how we can best serve our communities in an emergency.”

June 1, 2016, will mark the official start of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which lasts through the end of November. Predictions call for an average season, but Floridians are reminded that it only takes one storm to impact a community.

The Food for Florida program offers emergency food assistance to eligible victims of hurricanes or other types of disasters.  The last time DCF activated the program was in 2005, when Hurricane Wilma struck Florida.  The department has since streamlined the application and preregistration process using satellite and other wireless technologies. The changes have positioned DCF to better serve disaster-stricken Floridians and identify individuals who may try to fraudulently obtain benefits during a time of crisis.

In the aftermath of the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes, the DCF Disaster-SNAP program came to life.  Lucy Hadi was Secretary at that time, and was instrumental in naming the program “Food for Florida”.  Secretary Hadi served as DCF Secretary from 2004-2006; a period when Florida had eight named storms in two years.  Secretary Hadi worked hard to provide hurricane victims counseling and assistance they needed to help them recover.  In honor of her recent passing in February, the 2016 disaster exercise will be named “Lucy”.

If you have a disaster plan and supply kit, now is the time to review, recycle and restock. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has created an easy way to build a family or small business emergency plan at their website (http://flgetaplan.com/).