USDA To Launch online Food Stamp Grocery Program In Select Areas

The United States Department of Agriculture has a new plan to launch a two-year pilot program, starting this summer, to allow food stamp recipients to purchase groceries online through one of seven participating retailers.

Last year, more than 44 million Americans participated in the Federal government’s low-income food assistance social program—known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP—with the average benefit for each person ringing out around $125.50

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack comments, “Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in urban neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited. We’re looking forward to being able to bring the benefits of the online market to low-income Americans participating in SNAP.”

Amazon, of course, is among the retailers expected to participate in the online grocery pilot program. The other six retailers include: FreshDirect (New York), ShopRite (Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), and Safeway (Maryland, Washington, Oregon). Also, Hart’s Local Grocers and Dash’s Markets in certain New York locations will participate.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant notes: “Amazon is excited to participate in the USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot. We are committed to making food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers the lowest prices possible.”

And Amazon is not the only online retailer to participate. Hy-Vee, Safeway, ShopRite, and Hart’s Local Grocers also have an online presence that will participate.

Albertson’s is another national chain to participate. Albertson Companies Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer Shane Sampson, explains: “The SNAP Online Purchasing pilot is at the intersection of innovation and community improvement, and Albertsons Companies is honored to have been selected to participate. Enabling SNAP participants to shop online and have their groceries delivered makes fresh foods more accessible to everyone, including those who may not be able to make a weekly trip to the store. We’re proud to be part of combating food insecurity in these communities.”

Northeast online food retailer FreshDirect also shares: “With the SNAP pilot, we look forward to bringing the online purchasing option to SNAP clients and positively impacting all the communities that we serve.”

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