Minnesotans using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can now buy groceries online, the Department of Human Services announced Thursday.
Currently, Walmart and Amazon are the sole retailers approved for online purchases and available in Minnesota, but the state DHS says it is "encouraging other retailers to seek approval" for online grocery sales from the United States Department of Agriculture.
“Safe access to healthy food is important for all of us,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead in a statement. “By enabling SNAP recipients to purchase food online, we are increasing access to food and enabling safe purchasing. This is vital to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic while helping Minnesotans put healthy food on their tables.”
Around 400,000 Minnesotans are currently receiving SNAP benefits. To be eligible, residents must have an annual income below 165 percent of the federal poverty level, which was about $34,000 for a family of three in 2019.
The state's largest foodbank, Second Harvest Heartland, said it received double the amount requests for assistance applying to SNAP in March and April.
The Minnesota Food HelpLine can be reached at 1-888-711-1151 or www.mnfoodhelpline.org.
Counties or tribal human services agencies can help people apply for SNAP. Applicants can also go to www.applymn.dhs.mn.gov.
To find a food shelf or meal program near you, visit www.hungersolutions.org.