This post originally appeared on the USDA blog on February 18, 2011.
As this blog is being posted, I am down in Miami at Sedano’s Supermarket with local business leaders, retailers and community members to unveil a new consumer resource that will help families in need gain access to healthy food. I am pleased to unveil the Spanish-language version of the SNAP Retail Locator, an online search tool to help Spanish-speaking recipients locate an authorized Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) store near their home or workplace.
USDA is committed to improving access to SNAP and providing vulnerable participants with information to make more informed shopping choices. And this innovative new tool will make it easier for SNAP participants, especially those who may be new and unfamiliar with the program, to gain access to the nutritious food they need.
I think it’s important to realize that SNAP benefits not only feed hungry families – they help give local communities an economic feeding as well. Although SNAP benefits are administered by states, they are 100 percent federally funded and move quickly into local economies, with 97 percent of SNAP benefits redeemed within a month.
In fact, research shows that every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 in local economic activity.
I think it’s also important to realize that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is one of 15 nutrition assistance programs, which include USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, administered at the federal level by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. The President understands that to win the future, we have to win the race to educate our children. But our nation will not succeed if our children are not learning because they are hungry.
These programs now touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year and work together to comprise a national safety net against hunger. SNAP, the largest of these vital programs, puts healthy food on the table for 43.6 million people each month, half of whom are children.
Here’s where you can learn more about the SNAP Retailer Locator, including the new Spanish-language version.
Please follow USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service on Twitter.
Kevin Concannon is the USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.