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The USDA just announced the rollout of a pilot program that will change the way those using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will be able to shop for groceries. For the first time ever, SNAP users shopping with what’s commonly referred to as food stamps will be able to shop for food online through Amazon and Walmart.
For the initial testing phase of this program, only those in the New York City area will be able to take advantage of shopping for goods online. But there are plans to make this option available at more retailers and in even more locations in the future.
ShopRite will be joining the list of participating retailers, with more stores expected to join in the months ahead, according to a statement the USDA released on April 18. During the two-year testing period, the pilot program will eventually expand to include other parts of New York state, as well as Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.
This shopping method for SNAP users has been in the works since 2014, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue seems glad that the program is finally underway.
“People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food — by ordering and paying for groceries online,” he said in a statement.
“We look forward to monitoring how these pilots increase food access and customer service to those we serve, specifically those who may experience challenges in visiting brick-and-mortar stores,” he said.
Amazon was also happy to jump on board.
“Amazon enthusiastically volunteered to work with the USDA and participate in this landmark pilot, because we believe in the goals of this program and its potential to significantly extend the value of those public benefits,” the company said in a statement.
Walmart’s grocery pickup and delivery service will also be eligible to SNAP users, and they’re excited to give “access to convenience and to quality, fresh groceries” because this time-saving method of shopping “shouldn’t be dictated by how you pay,” the company said in a statement.
SNAP users in New York City can begin shopping through Amazon and Walmart online immediately, and soon, even more people will have access to this convenient option.