In case you missed the link in this morning’s Brief, Tara put together a great summary of all things Nutrition:
SNAP/HIP
  • About 55% of SNAP households are receiving extra funds for April and May. Only active recipients not receiving the maximum benefit will receive this supplement. The amount of the supplement is the difference between the amount the household receives in SNAP and the maximum grant amount for the household size. Households already receiving the maximum SNAP grant will not receive a supplement. Households are being notified by phone or text. The text reads, “In response to COVID-19, you will be receiving extra SNAP. Check your balance at DTA-Connect or by calling the number on the back of your EBT card.” Please inform your staff and older adults this is not a scam and they can call the customer service number on the back of their card for an automated response confirming their updated balance. Fliers in English and Spanish are available for additional information on this benefit.
  • If a new applicant does not have an electronic benefit transfer (EBT card, or needs a replacement card, it will take about a week to arrive in the mail.
  • USDA ensures no current SNAP participants will lose benefits during this crisis and paperwork requirements for clients was extended six months. The goal is to focus on new applicants.
  • While online ordering with SNAP payment is not yet available in Massachusetts, there are some ‘click, collect and pay’ options.
    1. SNAP client orders online or over the phone and picks it up at the store. If the store has a wireless POS (point of sale device) the customer can complete the transaction without leaving their car.
    2. SNAP client places their order online or over the phone and the order is delivered to their designated delivery address. The transaction is completed with a wireless POS.
    3. SNAP client places their order online or over the phone and designates a person to pick the order at the store using the clients EBT card. The transaction is completed, using the SNAP client’s EBT card, in the store or by using a mobile POS device outside of the store.
      1. As a last resort, if the retailer does not have a mobile POS, the retailer could complete a manual voucher which the SNAP customer would need to sign in person at the point the voucher is authorized.
Food Deliveries
Below is a list of farms/organizations whose currently delivery model may service those needing food. Geographical regions and payment method vary.
  • Mycoterra Farm partnering with Red Barn Farm and Red Fire Farm, https://massfooddelivery.com/: SNAP benefits on delivery
  • Kitchen Garden Farm/Sunderland Farms Collaborative, sunderlandfarmco.com: allowing SNAP transactions, delivery statewide except the Cape and southeastern mass, free delivery for SNAP customers, $10 for others
  • Mill City Grows, Lowell: Prioritizing clients who are at high risk for COVID, are self-quarantining/have mobility problems/lack transportation, SNAP/ HIP accepted, delivery for people who need it
  • Grace Sliwoski, REC HIP to go in Worcester: Building an online ordering system for HIP transactions, offers two prepackaged options – fruit box or vegetable box, no-contact drive up pick up, considering other pick up sites – at school meal sites
  • Additional online ordering, home deliveries and closures: Community involved in Sustaining Agriculture
  • Simos Co., at 60 Avocado St. in Springfield offers a $55 food box for delivery. Contact them at 413-734-8232 to set up an account. To deliver to Lathrop, A. Simos Co. needs at least two households per campus to sign up.
Farmer’s Markets
  • Executive order – farmers’ markets are an essential service
  • MassGrown map: customized view for HIP farms, search by winter or summer farmers market
  • MassFarmersMarkets has a list of winter markets
  • Project Bread Hotline: up-to-date list of HIP and SNAP vendors
Emergency Food Needed
  • Commonwealth Kitchen will start producing frozen prepared meals using local produce to support local farms and emergency food work. Contact Jen Faigel if interested approximate numbers – jfaigel@commonwealthkitchen.org
Older Americans Act Meals (Massachusetts Senior Nutrition Program, also known as IIIC)
  • The Federal CARES Act passed on 3/27:
    1. provides an additional $480 million in emergency funding for the Older Americans Act (OAA) for congregate and home-delivered nutrition programs and $20 million in emergency funding for the OAA Native American nutrition program
    2. waives the dietary reference intake requirement for OAA meals providers during this COVID-19 emergency to provide more flexibility in meal distribution
    3. considers older adults who are social distancing during the emergency to be ‘homebound with illness’ under state plans’ definitions for purposes of delivering meals
  • Home Delivered Meal driver force as of March 24, ranges from 20%-100% including staff and new volunteers. Of those reporting, the average is 84%.
  • Nutrition programs are mixing shelf stable, frozen, 7-day and 5-day packs to meet the needs of regular clients and those recently added. They are looking at contingency plans for when capacity is reached as well as when staff/volunteers test positive.

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Massachusetts Councils
on Aging

116 Pleasant Street, Suite 306
Easthampton, MA 01027
Telephone: 413-527-6425
Fax: 413-527-7138