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USDA Announces Selected Organizations to Better Connect Low-Income Elderly and Disabled Americans with Healthy Food

Release No.
FNS-0011.16

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

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the organizations selected to participate in a nationwide pilot designed to improve access to groceries for homebound elderly and disabled persons participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly one in five SNAP participants is either elderly or disabled and therefore may face unique obstacles to obtaining healthy food at the grocery store.

“Home delivery of groceries will help ensure that elderly and disabled SNAP participants who are unable to shop for food have access to the nutrition they need to maintain a healthy diet,” said Kevin Concannon, Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “Home delivery is particularly important for seniors living in rural areas because America's rural population is older than the nation overall and rural seniors experience higher poverty than others.”

This pilot will help shape the upcoming final regulations first proposed in 2015 that for the first time will permit governmental and non-profit food purchasing and delivery services to accept SNAP benefits as payment, thus increasing the opportunities for home delivery to those unable to shop for food. The organizations selected are:

  • Denver Food Rescue (Denver, CO)
  • Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Many Infinities, Inc. (Alabaster, AL)
  • Senior Services of Alexandria (Alexandria, VA)
  • Store to Door (Roseville, MN)

Here is more information about the pilot and the proposed rule.

Concannon stressed that the home delivery pilot is separate and unrelated to USDA’s ongoing efforts to explore the feasibility of SNAP online purchasing.

“Though both purchasing and delivery services and online shopping may help increase access to food for SNAP participants, this pilot for home delivery is devoted to better serving homebound participants, a particularly vulnerable subset of the SNAP population,” he said. “However, we recognize that online purchasing shows great promise for the program and expect to issue a request for volunteer retailers who are interested in participating in the online purchasing pilot in the near future.”

The home delivery pilot is only one of many changes made in the last several years to strengthen SNAP and increase access to healthful foods for participants. USDA has provided funding to incentivize participants in SNAP to purchase more healthy fruits and vegetables through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, increased farmers’ market participation in SNAP to improve access to fresh and nutritious food, and proposed updated SNAP retailer standards to include different varieties of healthy qualifying foods.

As the nation's first line of defense against hunger, SNAP helps put food on the table for millions of low income families and individuals every month and has never been more critical to the fight against hunger and food insecurity. SNAP is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget of more than 43 million low-income individuals. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, 10 percent are over 60 and more than 40 percent of recipients live in households with earnings, where at least one adult is actively in the workforce. For more information visit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap.