independent news and opnion

SNAP Participants Can Buy Groceries Online for the First Time

0 53

The pilot program includes Amazon, and recipients will be able to access its grocery services without a Prime account.

About 38 million Americans receive vouchers to buy groceries at supermarkets and farmers’ markets through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Starting this week, some participants will also be able to shop for food online, at Amazon, Walmart, and ShopRite.

The two-year pilot program is starting in New York, and will soon expand to Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington State. United States Department of Agriculture officials say this program could revolutionize access for its participants, more than half of whom experience food insecurity. “We look forward to monitoring how these pilots increase food access and customer service to those we serve, specifically those who may experience challenges in visiting brick and mortar stores,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement on Thursday.

Here’s what the change could mean for food security among SNAP recipients.

SNAP and Food Deserts

One in seven Americans participates in SNAP, receiving an average of $150 every month to buy groceries, according to the most recent USDA data.

Around one-fifth of these recipients have very low levels of food security. Many also live in areas that the USDA defines as food deserts, meaning they don’t have access to fresh produce, often due to a lack of grocery stores and farmers’ markets. For these recipients, food prices and travel costs can offset the additional income from SNAP. Recipients can now use SNAP at 7,377 farmers markets across all 50 states, but the USDA has struggled to update the technology used to make SNAP payments at the markets. In addition, many recipients are unaware of the options or unable to make purchases in markets, according to the non-profit Farmers Market Coalition.

Source link

You might also like