UPDATE: The application process for restaurants or food trucks to take part in the pilot program has been extended to October 31, 2022. You can apply at the Mass.gov website.

The Baker Administration has announced a pilot program that allows some Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to use their benefits to purchase food from restaurants and food trucks.

The administration has issued a Notice of Opportunity (NOO) to "strategically onboard restaurants and food trucks," including those that are "locally-privately-owned and provide counter-based service and payment."

"The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) allows individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals with disabilities, and households with older adults aged 60 and older to use their SNAP benefits at select, participating restaurants and food trucks that offer reduced-price meal options," according to the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).

Restaurants and food trucks can apply now through August 31, 2022.

"The Administration anticipates the option for clients to use their benefits at the approved businesses will begin in fall 2022," the DTA said.

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"This effort builds on the success of the equity framework used to enroll additional Healthy Incentives Program (HIPS) vendors as we continue to promote food security across the Commonwealth and a just and equitable food system and environment," said Marylou Sudders, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services.

DTA Acting Commissioner Mary Sheean suggests expanding the pilot program to include "the families and individuals we serve." More than 600,000 Massachusetts households are currently receiving SNAP benefits.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media; Getty Images
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media; Getty Images

I'm thinking about the elderly New Bedford woman I wrote about last year who could not use her SNAP benefits to buy a warm rotisserie chicken from Market Basket because SNAP rules do not permit the purchase of warm, prepared foods.

Addressing a silly rule like that might go a long way towards guaranteeing "food security" and an "equitable food system." Just saying.

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