WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Steve Stivers (OH-15) in applauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approving Ohio’s request to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) Online Purchasing Pilot.  Approval of Ohio’s request will enable SNAP recipients across the state to utilize SNAP benefits to purchase groceries online at authorized online retailers. 

“In this time of economic uncertainty and high unemployment, Ohio families need flexibility to safely buy their groceries,” said Brown.  “Expanding SNAP online purchasing options will help keep families safe and ensure they are getting the meals they need during this pandemic.”

“As this public health and economic crisis continues, many families across Ohio are struggling to put food on the table,” said Rep. Fudge.  “SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Yet for many who rely on the program, it may be difficult or dangerous to go shopping during the current pandemic.  By providing Ohio families the ability to purchase groceries online, this initiative will help ensure SNAP is working for the people who need direct delivery of healthy foods the most during this challenging time.”

“Giving Ohio SNAP recipients the flexibility to purchase food online is sorely needed during these unprecedented times, giving many of my constituents an opportunity to focus more on their health and well-being,” said Rep. Beatty.  “USDA’s decision is long overdue but welcome news for the over 1.4 million Ohioans who rely on SNAP for nutritious meals to feed themselves and their families.”

“I am pleased with USDA’s approval of Ohio to join the SNAP online pilot purchasing program and thank Chairwoman Fudge’s noble leadership on the issue,” said Rep. Kaptur.  “During this most difficult time, our constituents need opportunities to purchase food as safely as possible and this program will deliver that ability.  As this program grows, I encourage the addition of more local grocer options, such as farmers markets, from which participants may shop.”

“As our state continues to struggle to overcome this crisis, it is more important than ever for Ohioans to be able to safely put food on the table.  This program allows Ohioan families to use their SNAP benefits to buy groceries online.  This no contact shopping will give over 1.4 million Ohioans safer, healthier, and more diverse options to do their grocery shopping,” said Rep. Ryan. 

“The SNAP program is a lifeline for many Ohioans, but unfortunately throughout this pandemic, it’s forced vulnerable individuals to face unnecessary risk just to get the essentials,” said Rep. Stivers.  “Today’s announcement of an online SNAP purchasing option is a huge win for seniors and other at-risk individuals who will be able to stay home and stay safe without having to worry about their grocery list.”

Brown, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, supported the expansion of the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Ohio plans to implement the program statewide this summer with two online SNAP retailers, Walmart and Amazon. 

Additional Background:

Brown has continued to push to improve access to critical nutrition programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, at Brown and Sen. Rob Portman’s request, the USDA approved the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ (ODJFS) request to operate the Disaster Household Distribution Program. The announcement came after the senators were joined by Ohio House Members in a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue urging swift approval of ODJFS’ request to operate the program.

In April, he joined his colleagues in sending a letter to the USDA, calling for additional methods of delivery to help SNAP recipients receive their benefits safely.

Brown also joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in a letter calling on the USDA to work immediately to ensure SNAP participants can receive home food delivery and curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic.