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Grocery delivery services will soon accept food stamps

April 25, 2019 11:39 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) --- A new program will allow people who receive SNAP benefits to order groceries online and get them delivered to their home.

The USDA announced this is a pilot program that will be launching in New York state first. This new program has the chance to help Rochester, which continues to face high poverty rates with many people struggling to access fresh, affordable food. 

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Data shows about 20 percent of people on food stamps are elderly or disabled. 

Angel Rolon, 79, barely leaves his home and when it's time to fill the fridge, things can get difficult.

"I go on the bus, sometimes my neighbors give me a ride," Rolon said. "Or I could walk to the store with my cart."

Rolon says when the seasons change getting groceries is even harder.

"Now is not bad but in the winter, too much snow," Rolon said.

This delivery service will give Rolon another option. For the first time in history, the USDA announced people who receive SNAP benefits can purchase groceries online with options for delivery.

Walmart and Amazon will start rolling out the service soon.

Mark Dwyer at Foodlink says more than 120,000 people in Monroe County rely on SNAP benefits. 

"It's reducing barriers, it's expanding access. At the end of the day, it gives people more access to healthy foods easier," Dwyer said.

Data from the American Community Survey shows more than 20 percent of people in Rochester are unsure where their next meal will come from and many of them don't have transportation.

"Food access is an issue in Rochester and a lot of cities not only urban areas but rural communities as well," Dwyer said.

This delivery service will not be free. Delivery fees range from $8 to $10, but Rolon says he is willing to pay for the convenience.

"When I take a taxi I pay that much," Rolon said.

In upstate New York, Walmart will be the first company to accept SNAP for grocery delivery. The USDA says the retailer will be slowly rolling out the system to ensure it is functional.

Credits

Kaci Jones

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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