USDA Unveils Spanish-language Nutrition Assistance Consumer Resources

Release No.
0076.11

Contact:
FNS Office of Communications (703) 305-2281

<p><b style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; text-align: -webkit-center; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); ">New Online Tools Will Help Families in Need Gain Access to Healthy Food</b></p>

MIAMI, Feb. 18, 2011- USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon today joined local business leaders, retailers and community members at Sedano's Supermarket to unveil the Spanish-language Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Retail (SNAP) Retailer Locator. The new online search tool is designed to help recipients find SNAP-authorized stores near their home or workplace. With one of the largest concentrations of Spanish speakers in the United States, Concannon emphasized the nutrition and economic stimulus benefits the new tool would have on Miami.

"The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program leads the way in helping low-income families put food on the table 365 days a year," said Under Secretary Concannon. "The new tool will make it easier for SNAP participants to gain access to food and it is another critical step in providing participants with information to make more informed shopping choices."

USDA is working to improve access to and increase participation in SNAP with a focus on underserved populations. While the participation rate among all eligible individuals was 67 percent in 2008, only 35 percent of eligible elderly and 56 percent of eligible Hispanics participate.

SNAP benefits – formerly known as the Food Stamp Program – are now provided to recipients through a card similar to a debit card, help low income families put healthy food on the table and provide an economic stimulus that strengthens communities. Research shows that every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9.00 in local economic activity. While SNAP benefits are administered by states, they are 100 percent federally funded and move quickly into local economies, with 97 percent of SNAP benefits redeemed within a month. USDA is working with retailers to expand participation in the program through grocery stores, food marts, farmers' markets and other retail locations.

"The President made a commitment to reviving the economy and investing in America and its people. Our efforts to get more eligible people to participate in SNAP are a part of meeting that commitment," Concannon said. "Every time a family uses SNAP benefits to put healthy food on the table, it benefits the store and the employees where the purchase was made; the truck driver who delivered the food; the warehouses that stored it; the plant that processed it; and the farmer who originally produced the food."

To learn more about the Spanish-language SNAP Retailer Locator, including the English version unveiled last May, visit www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailerlocator.htm or www.fns.usda.gov/snap/sp-retailerlocator.htm for Spanish version.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition-assistance programs, including SNAP and the school meal programs, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety net against hunger. The largest program, SNAP, puts healthy food on the table for 43.6 million people each month, half of whom are children. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.