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Conn. officials work to address food insecurity during pandemic

Connecticut officials are seeking federal approval to allow food stamps recipients to use their EBT cards to purchase food online during the pandemic.  Families with an EBT card could then have groceries delivered.  Department of Social Services Commissioner Deirdre Gifford says she's working with the USDA to get approval.  This would then be available late next month. 

It’s part of a wide-ranging effort to address food insecurity issues in the state.  DSS has already expanded eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and increased the amount of benefits families can receive.

Gifford said plans are also in the works to provide people who need to remain home with restaurant meals.  She hopes this will help the restaurant industry while addressing the food needs of people at home.  Currently SNAP recipients can't purchase prepared meals with their EBT cards, but her office is working with FEMA to get that changed.

Meat isn't going to disappear from supermarkets because of outbreaks of the coronavirus among workers at U.S. slaughterhouses. But as the meat plants struggle to remain open, consumers could face less selection and slightly higher prices. Industry leaders acknowledge that the U.S. food chain has rarely been so stressed and that no one is sure about the future, even as they try to dispel concerns about shortages.

Connecticut Agricultural Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt says farm stands could fill some of that gap.  He says there's been a tremendous demand for Connecticut grown products as people are returning to supporting local community businesses.  The Department regularly publishes information with a list of farms, farmers' markets, and farm stands.  Hurlburt says they've created an interactive map that can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/DOAG/Commissioner/Commissioner/Farmers-Markets-Farm-Stores-and-CSAs-during-COVID-19

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