Food assistance, emergency relief available to those impacted by Gaylord tornado

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 2:50 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WNEM) – Food assistance benefits and emergency relief is available to those impacted by the tornado that swept through Gaylord on Friday.

“We are marshalling resources and energy across the state government to help Michiganders in Gaylord recover and rebuild from last week’s tornado,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “We are helping families put food on the table and we will continue working with other state departments and federal partners to ensure families and small businesses have what they need. Michiganders are tough and we have been tested, but we will get through this together.”

On Friday, May 20, Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Otsego County shortly after a tornado tore through the area. Those affected by the tornado may be eligible for replacement food assistance or state emergency relief. Through the Food Assistance Program, the MDHHS may be able to replace food that was originally purchased using SNAP and will only be made available to those already receiving food assistance benefits. Recipients who had food spoil due to loss of power or lost food to storm damage must contact their individual caseworkers to request replacement food benefits. Deadlines for requests for replacement benefits is 10 days after the storm or time of power outages.

“MDHHS is prepared to help Gaylord-area residents who suffered losses due to this terrible storm,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “No one should have to worry about having food for their families or living in an unsafe home because of damages from the tornado.”

For those low-income residents whose homes were significantly damaged during the tornado, the State Emergency Relief Program can provide more immediate help.

According to the announcement, relief is also available to those who need assistance repairing homes or restoring essential services.

All applicants must own or have purchased the home in question, or meet other requirements to qualify. For applications, visit or contact your local MDHHS office.