The coronavirus pandemic led to an overall increase in online grocery shopping, as people make attempts to avoid large crowds.
Online retail giant Amazon opened an online-only Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn in September to meet online grocery shopping demands.
In response to the growing demand for online shopping, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a pilot program to allow food stamp recipients to purchase their groceries online at Amazon and Walmart.
A report by Bloomberg shows that the program increased online grocery purchases 50-fold for households using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
The report details that more than 1.1 million people used SNAP to purchase their groceries online in the month of September.
This represents only a portion of the total food aid Americans receive. In April, SNAP program data showed more than 22 million individuals and families received benefits.
The USDA program includes guidelines for the type of food that can be purchased online with benefits and that delivery and other charges aren’t covered by SNAP funds.
Amazon’s SNAP page announced that government food benefits are accepted in all states except Hawaii, Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, and Maine.
As coronavirus cases continue to reach new daily highs, the program can help keep crowds at grocery stores low, especially in the approaching frenzy of the holiday season.
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