Putting SNAP Online Could Help Food Deserts Bloom.

AuthorNicholson, Haley
PositionFOOD STAMPS - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Americans are growing quite fond of buying groceries online and having them delivered to their front doors. So, expanding the service to those on food stamps--especially the elderly and disabled--seems like a logical next step.

New York is starting with a two-year pilot program. Food stamp recipients with state electronic benefit transfer cards will be allowed to buy groceries online through Amazon, Walmart or ShopRite. They can have them delivered but may not use their benefits to pay for service or delivery charges. ShopRite and Amazon will deliver to the New York City area, and Walmart will deliver in upstate New York.

Retailers will be added in the next several months, allowing the program to expand into other parts of New York state, as well as into Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.

Expanding the service, however, raises some concerns. Will staying home and having fewer social interactions and less physical activity affect...

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