Starting this summer, seven online food retailers, including Amazon and FreshDirect, will start accepting food stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Other participating retailers include Safeway, ShopRite, Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, and Dash’s Market. The two-year pilot program will start in seven states: Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Iowa, and Oregon, though the USDA says it hopes to expand the online program nationally and add more retailers.
“Amazon is excited to participate in the USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot,” the company said in a press release. “We are committed to making food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers the lowest prices possible.”
As of October 2016, over 43 million Americans participate in SNAP. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, 10% are over 60, and more than 40% live in households with an income, according to the USDA.
The fact that major retailers like Amazon are participating in SNAP’s online ordering program is a big deal. The ability to buy food online using food stamps could especially help those who live in food deserts (i.e. neighborhoods without access to fresh produce), those with disabilities, and the elderly.
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