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Local family searches for compensation for spoiled food

Posted at 6:45 PM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2019-10-02 09:49:28-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - For many, Hurricane Michael didn't bring about flooding or damage from fallen trees, but they're still seeing hardship.

WTXL spoke with one family about their quest to restock their fridge following power outages.

When Hurricane Michael whipped through much of North Florida a week ago, the only damage it left behind for the Mogle family was five trash bags full of spoiled food.

Pepper Mogle said, "It might not be a total damage because I didn't lose my home, but at the same time it is a total damage because we lost all of the food we had already bought."

But when Mogle called FEMA, she was disappointed in the response.

"To reach out to the disaster line and hear Oh, well, we can't help you unless you have disaster to your home," said Mogle.

FEMA referred Mogle to call 211, but the high call volumes left her waiting on the phone for too long.

A representative for FEMA told WTXL food loss is not covered by FEMA's Individual and Household's Program.

The family does receive SNAP benefits, but said that with no other assistance, the early benefits that came in aren't enough.

"I'm thankful for the Red Cross and the Salvation Army that comes up and brings hot meals" said Mogle.

They've also received MRE's or Meals Ready to Eat from the National Guard.

"But that doesn't go very far when there's 9 of us that's got to eat." said Mogle.

So what else is a family left to do when a natural disaster causes food to go bad?

Cook Insurance Agent Mary Wallace said, "It's possible, if they have specific coverage and it says they have equipment breakdown for refrigerators, then they can get that."

Cook Insurance told WTXL that most people opt out of that coverage.

"Everything is susceptible to these higher, out of pocket deductibles for hurricanes" said Wallace.

This leaves many families with no insurance or less coverage having to make do with what they have.

Wallace encourages everyone to find out what is covered in their insurance plan and to be careful of scammers looking to take advantage of them.