Organizations ask USDA to expand SNAP recipients' meal access during COVID-19 outbreak

They argue that broadening the Restaurant Meals Program will help protect SNAP recipients, minimize grocery store lines and keep restaurant workers employed.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), along with customer organizations and anti-hunger groups, have written a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking that the USDA expand the Restaurant Meals Program to give Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients greater access to meals during COVID-19. 

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) has been running for years and allows certain SNAP recipients, such as those who are over 60 or who have a disability, to use food stamps at participating restaurants in some states. 

The IFDA and others would like the USDA to expand the program to allow any SNAP recipient to participate. They also called for other measures such as expediting the authorization of new restaurants or other outlets that would like to serve food through the RMP. 

In the letter, they argue that expanding RMP will not only help SNAP recipients caring for themselves or family members who may have become infected by COVID-19, but it will also help reduce long lines at grocery stores and help keep restaurant workers employed.

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