Food stamps can now deliver something new — groceries, ordered online and schlepped straight to your front door.
As of March 4, Oregon recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often referred to as food stamps, may purchase groceries over the Internet and request delivery to their homes.
The catch? SNAP can't be used to pay courier fees, so food stamp users will still be on the hook for delivery costs and any other surcharges added by the retailer.
The online food assistance system only works with Amazon and Walmart for now. To use the new feature, simply enter your Oregon Trail card number and PIN during check-out.
The new option is being tested here by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, and could be rolled out nationwide at a later point.
"Accessing a grocery store can be a big challenge," Merkley said, "especially given the lack of full-service grocery stores in so many lower income neighborhoods."
Merkley added that he hopes the service will help alleviate Oregon's countless urban and rural areas where the closest thing to a grocery story is a gas station deli. The program should also be useful for those who are busy with work and childcare, those living with disabilities or just trying to save time.
It delivers groceries from its stores in Portland, Wood Village, Beaverton, Cornelius, Eugene, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Medford, Salem, Sherwood and Springfield. Amazon's service is similarly spotty, even in parts of the Portland tri-county area.
Merkley noted that Oregon is the nation's 12th hungriest state, with more than 600,000 people enrolled in SNAP.
"For hundreds of thousands of Oregonians, SNAP benefits are the difference between being able to afford food or going to bed hungry," he said.
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