Baltimore City Health Commissioner Issues Statement in Response to SNAP Pilot Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Mona Rock: Office: (443) 984-2623, Cell: (410) 375-7763

BALTIMORE, Md. (January 6, 2017)—Today, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen issued the following statement in response to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s selection of three grocers in Maryland for a program designed to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase their groceries online.  

“Giving SNAP participants the opportunity to purchase groceries online will dramatically improve access to fresh, healthy foods. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 Baltimore City residents live in an area identified as a food desert. This pilot will break down barriers and bring groceries to people, saving them time and money.

“Baltimore City advocated for this pilot in sweeping federal legislation that regulates SNAP, known as the Farm Bill, based on the success of the Baltimore City Health Department’s Virtual Supermarket program. The Virtual Supermarket began in 2010 to use grocery delivery to address food deserts in Baltimore and was the first program of its type in the country. It now operates in 10 sites across Baltimore, serving over 900 residents as a part of our core service mission.

“With the new pilot, programs like the Virtual Supermarket will be the norm rather than the exception, effectively improving health for countless residents across the city and state.”

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