Friday, September 16, 2016

USDA to test online shopping for SNAP recipients

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants could soon be able to buy groceries online. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday that it is seeking retailer volunteers for a two year pilot program to test using food stamps for online purchases. As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the pilot program will begin next summer and will include up to five retailers in three states.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement: "Online purchasing shows great promise to improve access to healthy food for SNAP participants living in neighborhoods and rural or tribal areas without grocery stores. Online purchasing will also help those who are unable to access a grocery store due to a disability or lack of transportation."
Chicago Tribune photo
Online service could help people in food deserts, Greg Trotter reports for the Chicago Tribune. "In Illinois, about 1.9 million people receive assistance through SNAP, up from about 1.2 million people some 10 years ago. The vast majority of SNAP benefits—82 percent—are redeemed at supermarkets and merchants like Costco, though in food deserts, immediate access to healthy food is often limited to what's available at corner stores."

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