Congressman Sean Maloney

Representing the 18th District of New York

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Maloney Announces New York State Selected for National Snap Pilot Program

Jan 6, 2017
Press Release
Joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in Pushing for Participation

Maloney Led NY Congressional Delegation Letter of Support

Washington - Following nearly a year of advocacy by Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the selection of New York State to participate in a nationwide pilot program to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase their groceries online. Borough President Diaz and Rep. Maloney led the campaign in New York State to bring about this innovative change, which will allow consumers greater access to affordable groceries, help combat food deserts, promote healthier diet choices and create billions of dollars in new business opportunities.

“Working hand-in-glove with Borough President Diaz, we delivered on our goal of bringing the SNAP program in New York State into the 21st century. This pilot will help make it easier and more efficient for New York families to put food on their tables. New York has always paved the way for new ideas and innovations – this pilot program is no different - and I want to thank my colleagues in Congress for joining us in bringing this program to New York,” said Rep. Maloney.

“New York State has always led the way when it comes to innovation in government, and this pilot program will put our state at the intersection of health, technology and business. Allowing consumers to use their SNAP benefits in the same way you would also use a credit or debit card to purchase groceries will lead to lower prices and greater options for consumers in every corner of this city and state,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank Congressman Maloney and our New York delegation, our partners in business and the health and hunger advocates who understood the need for this pilot program and joined our efforts to bring this important new program to New York.”

“Hunger Free America strongly supports increasing low income people’s access to affordable food.  The new USDA online purchasing pilot program will enable low income people in both rural and urban communities, to have fresh affordable food delivered to their door, potentially in areas where fresh food had been previously unavailable to them,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America. “We hope to see this program expand to every state in America, so that no hungry person will have to travel long distances in order to get a fresh vegetable.”

Rep. Maloney was integral in drumming up support for the pilot program in Congress. In November, Rep. Maloney led his colleagues in the New York State congressional delegation on a letter to Secretary Vilsack, in which they jointly called for New York’s selection in the pilot program. Borough President Diaz initially proposed such changes in his “State of the Borough” address in February 2016. In July 2016, Borough President Diaz participated in a conference on Capitol Hill to address the need for technological advancements for SNAP benefit users. The next month, the borough president authored a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging his department to select New York State for this pilot program. As part of the pilot program, the USDA has selected two vendors—Amazon and FreshDirect—to serve customers in New York State.

The USDA’s announcement can be read at https://bit.ly/2hVLxa8.