In late 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rolled out a program that allowed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to purchase groceries online. The pilot launched in New York State. Now, as the health pandemic coronavirus hits the United States, SNAP online benefits are being expanded to other states.

Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and Washington State were added in 2019. As of April 11, 2020, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, California and Arizona are part of the online pilot program. Walmart and Amazon are working with all pilot states on their program, according to the USDA. Florida provides SNAP benefits to 3 million people, and California provides SNAP to over 4 million individuals.

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Government officials have encouraged limited grocery trips and social distancing measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Ordering groceries online allows those with kids to stay home, instead of bringing them into the store.

“We are expanding new flexibilities and innovative programs to make sure Americans across this country have safe and nutritious food during this national emergency,” said Secretary Perdue. “Enabling people to purchase foods online will go a long way in helping Americans follow CDC social distancing guidelines and help slow the spread of the coronavirus. USDA is mandated with the noble goal of feeding Americans when they need it most, and we are fulfilling that mission with new innovative programs during this national emergency.”

Nevin Cohen, research director of the Urban Food Policy Institute at the City University of New York told Civil Eats of the expanded benefits, “Additional buying options can provide increased access to food and, as we’re seeing, those options are particularly important in emergencies. “The pandemic shows us that we really need to be concerned about resiliency in our food systems,” as well as “food access across the income spectrum.”

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

This is a good time to reconsider our intake of animal products to stay healthy. Eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.

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Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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