Photo: Civil Eats
For those living in areas where fresh, healthy food is hard to find, this is amazing news and a true blessing.
The USDA announced the launch of a new pilot program for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to begin purchasing food online. This program is limited to a few states and retailers for now due to the higher security needed for food stamp online purchasing and the newness of the system. As the online system for SNAP food stamps is incorporated and security of the program tested, the USDA plans to expand this online system to all retailers nationwide in the future.
So far, the available retailers and states they will serve for the online order and purchase program is as follows:
Amazon – Maryland, New Jersey, New York
FreshDirect – New York
Safeway – Maryland, Oregon, Washington,
ShopRite – Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Hy-Vee, Inc. – Iowa
Hart’s Local Grocers – New York (based in Rochester)
Dash’s Market – New York (based in Buffalo)
The launching of this program is great news for anybody on food stamps. While food stamps have allowed the purchase of healthier food in recent years, its always required going to a grocery store or food retailer to purchase food. The issue with that is that some of the 44 million people in SNAP live in so-called “food deserts,” or areas where grocery stores and establishments to purchase fresh food barely exist or don’t exist at all. At least 2 million low-income people live in food deserts without access to a vehicle.
With this online ordering program, people on SNAP will find it much easier to get the food they need. While the pilot program won’t cover service or delivery fees, it still provides welcome monetary relief and delivery convenience for those who live in food deserts.