From the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined a bipartisan group of senators in calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure SNAP participants can receive home food delivery and curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Gillibrand expressed concern that SNAP recipients — especially seniors and immunocompromised individuals, individuals with disabilities, and families who lack reliable transportation — are often unable to practice social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders because they must travel to grocery stores to use SNAP benefits. This puts some of the most at-risk individuals at a disadvantage just because they rely on SNAP benefits to access the food they need.
“The SNAP program provides a critical lifeline for food insecure families, and with rising unemployment, more Americans are turning to this invaluable service,” said Senator Gillibrand. “While some grocers have taken the important step in allowing families who rely on SNAP to use delivery services, it’s crucial that everyone has the option to put food on the table without risking their health. I’m urging the USDA to immediately maximize delivery services so that seniors and vulnerable New Yorkers can safely feed themselves and families throughout this pandemic.”
Although the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot enables SNAP recipients to purchase grocery deliveries, its availability remains limited to the states and retailers who have opted into the program. In addition to expanding the Online Purchasing Pilot, Senator Gillibrand and her colleagues urged USDA to answer key questions and maximize existing alternatives to facilitate delivery for those who rely on SNAP.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Gillibrand has continuously pushed to maximize the availability of SNAP benefits and ensure recipients can access their resources without risking their health. Last month, Gillibrand joined with Senators Harris and Sanders to introduce the Closing the Meal Gap Act, legislation that would dramatically expand access to SNAP benefits. She has previously called on Amazon and Walmart to eliminate the financial burden of delivery fees and minimum order requirements for customers using SNAP benefits.
Full text of the letter can be found here