Cheyenne, OK – On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the approval of a request from Oklahoma to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. The USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot program, created in the 2014 Farm Bill authored by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, will allow Oklahomans to be able to purchase food online with their SNAP benefits.
“Even before the current coronavirus pandemic, Congress recognized the changing needs of families and individuals as advances in technology further shaped our society. As I shepherded the 2014 Farm Bill, my colleagues and I saw the need to ensure that SNAP customers have access to these innovative tools that are changing the retail industry,” said Congressman Frank Lucas. “Oklahoma’s approval of expanding SNAP online purchasing is great news to those who use SNAP to feed their families and producers and small businesses who are providing for their neighbors. As we continue to safely and responsibly practice social distancing, this new pilot program will help Oklahomans continue to stay safe as they order their groceries online and use curbside pick-up. As one of the members who helped enact this pilot program, I’m excited to see the wonderful benefits this brings about to my fellow Oklahomans.”
“During this pandemic, thousands of Oklahomans who never needed our services before have filed for SNAP benefits,” said Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) Director Justin Brown. “We are grateful for our federal partners at the USDA and to Congressman Lucas for his work to expand the SNAP online purchasing pilot program to our SNAP customers here in Oklahoma.”
“This is fantastic news for our SNAP customers,” said OKDHS Adult and Family Services Director Patrick Klein. “Like so many Oklahomans, it is much safer during this pandemic for SNAP recipients to be able to order groceries online and pick them up curbside instead of going inside a grocery store. The pilot program has been successful in other states and we are excited it is now available in Oklahoma.”
On April 18, 2019, Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the launch of the two-year SNAP online purchasing pilot that began in New York before being rolled out to additional states. The 2014 Farm Bill, which was written by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, authorized USDA to conduct and evaluate the possibility of allowing retail food stores to accept SNAP benefits through online transactions.
As part of its response to COVID-19, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has worked closely with all interested states, retailers, and benefit processors to make online purchasing a reality for more SNAP households.
OKDHS continues to work with potential retailers to test and implement the online purchasing using SNAP benefits.
In less than six weeks, amidst an unprecedented situation, USDA has expanded SNAP online purchasing to 36 states and the District of Columbia – nearly three-quarters of the states, covering 90% of SNAP households.