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Food assistance tips, resources for Iowans without power

Local 5 is On Your Side with information and resources if you need food assistance.

IOWA, USA — Monday's derecho continues to impact Iowan's most basic needs as the week drags on, leaving many wondering if the food in their fridge can be used.

Resources are available through the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program (IIAGP) and the Disaster Care Management program. 

These programs are activated following a disaster declaration from the governor.

IIAGP offers grants to families whose household's annual income is at 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Qualifying households can receive up to $5,000 in assistance. 

Grants can be used for home or car repairs, temporary housing and replacing food or clothes.

Individuals can fill out this form and turn it in to their local Community Action Agency

Applicants have 45 days to apply following the disaster declaration. 

Power outages across the state mean food may no longer be good to eat, so the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Iowa Department of Public Health are reminding everyone how to keep their food safe during an emergency.

If your power goes out, you have four hours until unopened, refrigerated food is deemed unsafe, according to the USDA. 

The USDA recommends leaving your refrigerator door closed to keep the food cold.

Meat, poultry, eggs and fish should always be kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. All frozen food should be kept below zero degrees Fahrenheit. 

A full freezer can hold a steady temperature for about 48 hours, or 24 hours if it's half full. 

If you suspect the power will be out for an extended period of time, find dry or block ice to keep your fridge as cold as possible. The USDA says 50 pounds of dry ice should hold an 18-cubic foot full freezer for two days. 

They recommend planning ahead to find where you can purchase dry or block ice for future outages.

Never taste the food to determine its safety. 

The USDA created charts for what to do for refrigerated and refrigerated and frozen foods following power outages. 

The USDA also recommends keeping foods that don't require refrigeration handy. More information on keeping your food viable and planning for disasters can be found by visiting the USDA's website

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