Shopping Online with Food Stamps Coming to America

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Amazon, FreshDirect, and other online grocers will soon be allowing food stamp recipients to shop online for their groceries across America.

A two-year pilot program between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) is scheduled to begin this summer in areas of New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Washington.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack made this statement about the new program: “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.”

According to an Amazon spokesperson, “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. Amazon’s selection and competitive pricing can improve the grocery shopping experience for SNAP participants while helping them extend their benefits further.”

Customers will only be able to buy those food items deemed eligible by the program, and the cost of delivery and service fees won’t be included in the purchase price. The pilot program still hasn’t determined whether it will allow direct online payment or just online ordering with in-person payment.

Other grocers like Safeway, ShopRite, Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, and Dash’s Market, who presently have online grocery shopping, will also be included in the USDA’s program.

FreshDirect said in an e-mailed statement, “FreshDirect is honored to have been selected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Online Purchasing Pilot (Pilot). At FreshDirect, we believe that fresh, high quality and healthy food options should be accessible to all. 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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