TRENTON, NJ – To assist county residents impacted by Hurricane Irene, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announces the availability of food assistance through the disaster-related Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (D-SNAP). This one-time food benefit will be available Sept. 12 through Sept. 19 to eligible Mercer County residents who experienced extreme material losses during the recent hurricane and/or subsequent flooding.

In conjunction with the Mercer County Board of Social Services in Trenton, additional County sites have been added to assist residents expedite the application and approval processes. These sites are: Mercer County Connection, Route 33 at Paxson Avenue (Acme Shopping Center) in Hamilton from September 12 through September 14; Lawrence Library, Darrah Lane at Route 1, in Lawrence on September 15; Ewing Library, Scotch Road, in Ewing Township on September 16; and Community Action Service Center DBA Rise in Hightstown on September 19 and 20.

“Hurricane Irene has devastated many Mercer County residents, and its effects are ongoing,” said Hughes. “We are committed to ensuring that our residents receive whatever assistance is available to aid them during this time.”

Individuals and families currently not receiving SNAP benefits and whose storm-related expenses include damages beyond the loss of food due to power outages may be eligible. Those in disaster-declared areas and already enrolled with SNAP will automatically receive a one-time supplemental benefit based upon a federal determination of areas that lost power for more than four consecutive hours. They do not need to call or visit the Mercer County Board of Social Services.

The D-SNAP application process eases requirements around documents necessary to apply and weighs disaster-related costs with available liquid resources when considering eligibility. Benefits are electronically applied to a card similar to a debit/credit card for the purchase of certain food items.

In addition to D-SNAP, county residents also are encouraged to register for FEMA assistance at www.recoveryasssitance.gov and to check www.nj211.org for valuable disaster-related information, including how to acquire clean-up kits, schedule home inspections and exercise renters’ rights. The NJ Department of Health and Senior Services also has a call center for public health concerns related to flooding at 1-866-234-0964. Its hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.