May 11, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) joined a bipartisan group of their colleagues in calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately work to ensure SNAP participants can receive home food delivery and access curbside pickup options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented rise in unemployment and a subsequent increase in demand for food assistance. At the same time, social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders have made it challenging—and unsafe—for many individuals to travel to purchase food,” wrote the Senators. “This is especially true for seniors and immunocompromised individuals who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, as well as individuals with disabilities and families who lack reliable transportation. We believe that no individual or family should be disadvantaged simply because they rely on SNAP benefits to access the food they need.”
USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot makes it possible for SNAP participants to purchase grocery deliveries, but its availability remains limited to the states and retailers who have opted in to the program. In addition to the Department’s ongoing efforts to expand the Online Purchasing Pilot, the Senators urged USDA to answer key questions related to maximizing alternative mechanisms that exist to facilitate delivery or alternative purchasing options, such as pay at pick-up, for SNAP participants, which is particularly important for those living in states not currently participating in the online pilot.
In addition to Senators Collins and King, the following U.S. Senators signed the letter: Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.