These receiving SNAP in Massachusetts can quickly use advantages to purchase sure meals at choose eating places and meals vehicles – Fall River Reporter

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Those receiving SNAP in Massachusetts can soon use benefits to buy certain meals at select restaurants and food trucks – Fall River Reporter

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration opened a notice last week about the opportunity to strategically onboard restaurants and food trucks for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Restaurant Meals Program pilot. Eligible businesses in this pilot phase of the program include locally privately owned restaurants and food trucks that offer counter-based services and payments. Applications can be submitted until August 31, 2022.

In accordance with federal regulations, the RMP allows individuals affected by homelessness, individuals with disabilities, and households with older adults age 60 and older to use their SNAP benefits at select, participating restaurants and food trucks that offer discounted meals. Once launched, this program will expand food choices and food access points for populations who may encounter barriers and challenges in purchasing and storing food, and in cooking and preparing meals.

Restaurants and food trucks can apply from now until the end of the summer. Administration anticipates that the ability for customers to take advantage of their benefits with the approved companies will begin in the fall of 2022. Learn more about the NOO and RMP program at Mass.gov/SNAPRestaurants.

“The opening of an announcement regarding the opportunity for restaurants and food trucks to enroll in the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program reflects the government’s commitment to bringing culturally accessible food to Massachusetts households while supporting local communities and businesses,” said Secretary of State Marylou Sudders Health and Human Services. “This effort builds on the success of the equity framework, which will be used to recruit additional Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) providers as we continue to work for food security across the Commonwealth and a just and equitable food system and environment.”

“SNAP remains an important tool in fighting food insecurity, putting money directly into the hands of more than 600,000 households and supporting our local communities, businesses and their workers,” said Mary Sheehan, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Transitional Assistance. “The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program promotes equity and safety for older adults, residents with disabilities, and the homeless who receive SNAP services and provides many low-income households with access to the same purchasing power as other customers. This call is an important first step in making this important option available to the families and individuals we serve.”

Applicants for the tender are evaluated based on a variety of criteria. This includes their ability to respond to the needs of prioritized communities and eligible populations, including areas where food insecurity and chronic disease rates have historically been disproportionately high, and areas classified as food deserts and environmental justice neighborhoods with limited access to other food barriers to entry. Businesses that demonstrate they can serve SNAP customers with disabilities and those with other barrier issues, particularly restaurants that can offer delivery services and food trucks that can meet customers where they live and work, will also be given strong consideration. In addition, applications will be evaluated for their ability to offer healthy and discounted food options, as well as their commitment and ties to their local communities, including their ability to serve SNAP customers in a culturally appropriate manner.