For Immediate release
April 18, 2019
CONTACT: Nicole Aber, (914) 263-0013

Advocates Praise New USDA/Food Industry Pilot Project to Allow SNAP (Food Stamps) Purchases Online in NY City & State

Anti-hunger advocates praised today’s announcement of a joint pilot project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and select food retailers to allow – for the first time ever – low-income families to use SNAP (formerly called Food Stamps) benefits to order groceries online and have them delivered to their doors. This pilot program just began in New York City, and will eventually be rolled out to other states.

“If the prices in this pilot project are affordable to SNAP recipients, then this project can completely revolutionize food access for low-income Americans by making it much easier for them to obtain healthy food,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide anti-hunger advocacy and direct service organization. “This effort is particularly important because so many low-income Americans are disabled, elderly, or living in neighborhoods without easy access to healthy food at prices they can afford. If this project works properly, and then is effectively rolled out to the rest of the nation, including rural areas, it has the potential to eventually wipe out food deserts in America, which would be a monumental achievement. We thank USDA and the food retailers for taking this historic step.”

Currently, 2.7 million people in New York State, including 1.6 million in New York City, rely on SNAP to aid their food purchases.

USDA announced that Amazon and Walmart will participate in the initial pilot launch starting today with ShopRite joining early next week. ShopRite and Amazon are providing service to the New York City area, and Walmart is providing online service in upstate New York locations. Additional retailers are slated to participate in the pilot in coming months. The pilot will eventually expand to other areas of New York as well as to Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.

The pilot will test both online ordering and payment. SNAP participants will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items, but will not be able to use SNAP benefits to pay for service or delivery charges.

New York residents currently receiving SNAP can go to the below websites of the participating retailers to use their benefits for food purchases:

Amazon: for New York City
Walmart: for Upstate New York

Continued Berg, “We strongly urge families who are in New York and currently receiving SNAP to check the retailers’ websites and see if the prices and selection of food products, along with any delivery fees, work for them, and, if so, to test out these new avenues of food purchasing. We will be in close touch with low-income New Yorkers to obtain their feedback on how well this pilot is working for them.”

Hunger Free America assists people in New York who may be eligible for SNAP, but are not currently getting the benefits, to apply for them. People seeking such help can go here or call (212) 825-0028, ext. 207.