Businesses are entering the fight against food insecurity this week – while Dollar General confirmed its plan to deliver fresh produce to 10,000 stores to combat food deserts, Google announced a major food insecurity initiative. In a blog post, the tech giant announced its Food Support site, which features tools to find the nearest food bank, food stamp entitlement information and educational tools about additional opportunities to get support food.
“We know people are looking for ways to get help, including Google Search,” wrote Emily Ma, head of Good Food at Google. Over the past year, searches for “food bank near me”, “Supplemental Food Aid Program (SNAP)”, “applying for food stamps” and “getting lunch at school” reached record highs. “
In addition to connecting people with ways to get food, the site also features an anti-stigma initiative, a series of videos, to overcome the barriers that often keep people from seeking these resources. He also highlights the work of organizations fighting food insecurity through a series of video profiles.
“There is a long way to go until the full resolution of the US and around the world hunger crisis, but we hope Finding Food Aid will help connect people in the US with food and free aid in their time of need, “wrote Ma.
The release notes that the number of people struggling with food insecurity increased by about 30 percent in 2020 to 45 million people. Initiatives to get people the resources they need to feed themselves and their families are certainly vital to these people, they are also good for businesses, providing a chance to bring in revenue from this massive group of buyers who otherwise would not be able to make any purchases.
In the past year, more grocery retailers have used SNAP payment options to transfer electronic omnichannel (EBT) benefits, integrating it into takeover and delivery order. In April, Instacart announced it would enable EBT SNAP payments at 4,000 stores it operates in 38 countries.
Some local legislatures are taking care of EBT SNAP benefits to go beyond the grocery store, enabling beneficiaries both SNAP recipients and businesses. In December, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer passed a provision allowing SNAP benefits to be used in local restaurants and small businesses.
“These actions will ensure families have the support they need to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads this winter,” Whitmer told ABC, “as well as provide support for local restaurants and owners. of small businesses across the state struggling as a result of the pandemic. ”
Recently, in May, the New York State Assembly passed a similar bill, creating a Restaurant Food Program through SNAP that allows beneficiaries who are unable to prepare their meals to use the benefits in the shops and restaurants of approved for prepared meals. California has had a similar program for years, the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program, which adds benefits to a selection of restaurants for seniors, people with disabilities, and those experiencing homelessness.