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State leaders want to help SNAP recipients get more delivery options

They're working with different companies to make it happen.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — Getting groceries delivered to those in need.

State officials are hoping to grow a program that does just that.

SNAP is the federal food assistance program, sometimes called the Food Stamp program.

During this health crisis, more and more Pennsylvanians found themselves in need of some help.

More than 1.8 million use SNAP across the state.

Before this pandemic, they didn’t have the option of using those benefits and ordering online and getting groceries delivered.

That has changed and several companies are participating in the program including Walmart and Amazon, but state leaders want more.

“We’ve actually had meetings with our Pennsylvania food merchants association just to kind of discuss where we are, take the temperature and see where retailers are in getting involved in this program because DHS has interest in this program growing expanding and becoming a permanent installation in the way SNAP recipients shop," said Elizabeth Tilahun, DHS Acting Deputy Secretary in the Office of Income Maintenance.

State officials said the numbers are growing as more SNAP recipients are finding out about and using the online ordering and delivery options when they can.

“This program is life-changing. Giving parents and particularly single parents the option to order their groceries online and potentially have them delivered is a tremendous support even in normal times and that’s amplified for that means in a global crisis.”

The SNAP benefits cover the groceries but folks have to pay delivery fees themselves. 

State officials say there are plenty of companies that want to participate but have trouble meeting some of the IT and online requirements. 

They said they are working together to tackle those hurdles.

“I would love to see this just become another tool in their toolbelt when we talk about providing support for our clients," said Tilahun.