KENNEWICK, Wash. – Sara Osborne of Safeway and Albertsons said they have been looking for ways to alleviate food insecurities in recent years.
“We believe everyone should be able to shop and make their own choices about how to feed themselves and their families.
and how can we provide better access? Sara, the director of external affairs, asked.
Then the pandemic hit and accelerated their plans.
“We really want our stores to be able to feed every person in our communities and not everyone has access all the time to buy enough to keep meals on the table for every meal,” she said.
They found that more people using government SNAP or EBT assistance were more likely to have food insecurities due to mobility issues. Sara said it might not be possible for them to risk leaving home, but those perks couldn’t use their cards on online ordering interfaces.
“So our IT teams were working hard to really develop this program so that people could actually use their smart card online and have their groceries delivered to their doorsteps,” she explained.
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Sara said there was a solution for EBT and SNAP users who wanted to use Safeway’s pickup, but that required additional devices. Recently, Safeway and other grocery stores owned by the Albertsons Companies made it possible for people using SNAP or using EBT to order groceries for hassle-free pickup or delivery.
“If you’re able to use SNAP online, it really reduces the anxiety knowing that you have enough benefits to cover what you’re buying and that you really have time to browse and budget and see what what might be best for them and their family that month. Not worrying about walking or taking public transportation and just having a consistent schedule when they know food will be delivered to them is really helpful,” she said.
Sara added that they also doubled the incentive to purchase products; in partnership with the DOH, when people use their benefits to buy fresh fruits or vegetables, they receive a $10 voucher for Safeway.
“Just having the product vouchers, they are only good for the products, they will definitely buy the products and they will find out that they like the products; it’s not like they don’t want to eat it, it’s out of their budget,” she explained.
Sara said they hope this program will not only help with food insecurity in communities, but also encourage people to buy nutritious food and learn how to extend their benefits, to get the best food possible.
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