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Graves Statement on FEMA Emergency Food Distribution

April 15, 2020
Press Release
Graves effort prompts new FEMA policy on collaboration with area Food Banks

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) released the following statement after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued guidance based both on legislation passed and requested by Graves. The legislation will enable FEMA, the state (Louisiana), or parishes an opportunity to either acquire food for hunger organizations like the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to distribute or to provide financial resources for food banks to acquire and distribute food.

“Food banks in Baton Rouge and other locations in Louisiana are running out of food at a record pace. This is an evolving emergency situation that requires action at every level of government,” Graves said. “We’ve got to get mass care, food and nutritional supplies to Louisiana citizens, and this new policy will undoubtedly save lives. The timing of this policy, and the swift action of FEMA, USDA, local & state leaders are critical to addressing the food emergency in Louisiana communities.”

“This policy specifically resulted from lessons learned, and reforms made, after the 2016 Flood by collaborating with Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank CEO Mike Manning and Feeding Louisiana Executive Director Korey Patty. Who would have guessed that a simple Louisiana reform would have such an impact on all Americans at this critical time,” Graves said.

Manning issued the following statement, “Congressman Graves has again demonstrated his leadership in helping get assistance from the Federal government for the citizens of Louisiana. This most recent effort should help Louisiana food banks to continue to assist so many impacted by Covid-19.”


On April 11, 2020, FEMA issued a new policy that addresses the purchase and distribution of food eligible for Public Assistance funding under emergency and major disaster declarations for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On April 10, 2020, Graves sent a letter to Governor John Bel Edwards and FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor highlighting the existing authority under the Stafford Act, which was activated by the presidential disaster declaration, that allows Louisiana, USDA and FEMA to expeditiously intervene in the urgent matter.

In 2018, Congress passed Graves’ legislation to specifically create the authority for FEMA, states and parishes to collaborate with food banks.