Building on P-EBT benefits created in response to the coronavirus, President Biden proposed a vast expansion of the USDA's summer food program on Wednesday that would be available to the 22 million children who eat school meals for free or at a reduced price. The White House also called for expanding a program that provides free school meals to all children in high-poverty neighborhoods.
Two months into the pandemic, roughly $1 in $8 spent on groceries in the United States came from the federal food assistance programs, SNAP and the newly created Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), compared to $1 of every $14 beforehand, said the USDA on Tuesday.
The newest states added to the Department of Agriculture’s SNAP online purchasing pilot program are planning to roll out the service by the end of April or mid-May, according to internal documents and news reports. Meanwhile, more states are eager to join the program as the coronavirus pandemic highlights disparities in food access. (No paywall)
Acting virtually overnight, the Trump administration added California and Arizona on Wednesday to the list of states where SNAP recipients can purchase groceries online for home delivery, a step that could reduce their exposure to the coronavirus. Five dozen House Democrats urged the administration to make online SNAP purchases available nationwide. (No paywall)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to ensure farmers markets can continue accepting SNAP benefits through the end of the market season relies on funding from a controversial federal program that rewards states for implementing SNAP with low error rates—and that lawmakers may eliminate in the next farm bill. (No paywall)
One week after FERN and the Washington Post reported on the imminent shutdown of an EBT payment processor responsible for 40 percent of all SNAP transactions at farmers markets, a national farmers market advocacy group has stepped in to fund the processor’s operations for another month. (No paywall)
With the closure of a payment company looming at the end of this month, Senators urged the USDA to explore all options so SNAP recipients can continue to shop at farmers markets. The company, which processes 40 percent of SNAP sales at farmers markets, is ending service on July 31 and a successor company says it will take several weeks to get its equipment in place.