At the September 28 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) committed to a pilot program that would enable the convenience services industry to help underserved communities through SNAP payment acceptance.
Current restrictions in SNAP payment acceptance limit the industry’s ability to adequately serve food to insecure locations. The program would allow eligible machines and micro markets to accept SNAP benefits, and in turn, owners and/or operators will be able to provide more accessible and diverse food offerings.
PHA and NAMA will jointly identify vending machines and/or micro markets in five census tracts whose address (or address of building in nearest proximity) is located in a low-income and low-access census tract. Once identified, PHA will ensure that all of the offerings in the machine or micro-market meet its nutritional standards and NAMA will submit them for SNAP eligibility approval to the qualifying agency.
In the PHA announcement, Carla Balakgie, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of NAMA, said, “The convenience services industry meets the needs of more than 40 million American consumers daily. The industry is uniquely positioned to play an important role in addressing the nation’s food insecurity issues. This pilot program would be an essential part of the solution. NAMA continues to work diligently with our members and public health partners to ensure more accessible and diverse food offerings in America’s vending machines and micro markets, including in underserved communities."
PHA, which is working with both the White House and the CDC Foundation to engage companies in finding solutions toward long-term food equity across the country, announced new commitments from Dole Packaged Foods, Instacart, International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), KinderCare Learning Companies (KLC), and the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) to make healthy, affordable food available to all consumers across the country.