Iowa Hy-Vee Part of Online Food Stamps Program

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A USDA program is allowing food stamp recipients to use the stamps online.

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Iowa  --  A two-year program is set to begin in the summer that officials say will lead to a healthy change in small communities. Hy-Vee stores in Iowa have been chosen to take part in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's program that will allow food stamp recipients to use the stamps online in order to have better access to healthy food.

Jesyka Dereta of WQAD reported on the program and the difference it may make for people in rural communities.

"To go to the store and pick up a bag of apples isn't just the price, it's the time," says Nick Martinez.

The USDA is trying out this online food stamps program in grocery stores in seven states, including Iowa. Amazon is also testing the program in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.

"I think anyone can benefit from healthy eating, and if it makes it easier for families to eat healthy, I'd be all for it," says Alyssa Green.

Currently food stamps can only be used in-store and require a pin number, like a debit card.

The two-year pilot program plans to create a way for Americans to use their benefits without technical problems, fraud, or security issues.

"I could see people giving out their food to other people if they're gonna order it, or selling it, that kind of thing. That could be a negative about it, just not being able to go through the line and see the people there," says Kelley Wallace. "Other than that, I think it would be a great thing."

The program is designed to help families in rural areas where access to healthy meals is sometimes limited.

"For people who are low income that don't have a means to get there, this is definitely a plus," says Martinez. "Someone who is super busy with work and family, this is truly something that will fit into that family dynamic."

The USDA hopes to add more retailers in the future. Shipping costs will not be covered under the pilot program.

 

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