Examining equitable online federal food assistance during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): A case study in 2 regions

Melanie D. Hingle, Carmen Byker Shanks, Courtney Parks, Joseph Prickitt, Kyung E. Rhee, Jimmy Wright, Sarah Hiller-Venegas, Amy L. Yaroch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food and financial assistance to food-insecure individuals and families. In the midst of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, SNAP benefits evolved. Policy changes and federal legislation expanded SNAP eligibility, raised benefit levels, and introduced program waivers that enabled online ordering to reduce participants’ exposure to community-acquired SARS-CoV-2. Although rapid expansion of SNAP benefits in the online space represents significant progress for federal food assistance, changes also introduced unforeseen partiality in how benefits and services were accessed and utilized, as illustrated by 2 populations and regions in the early months of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: low-income older adults in rural Alabama and low-income Hispanic adults in urban California. Opportunities exist to build on the recent progress in SNAP, while also ensuring continued inclusiveness of eligible persons. Efforts should be informed by evidence that supports equitable access to federal food assistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernzaa154
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Volume4
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

Keywords

  • Food assistance
  • Food insecurity
  • Nutrition incentive programs
  • SARS-Cov-2 pandemic
  • SNAP online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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