ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM)– The Arlington County Board approved a new pilot program for distributing grocery gift cards to families through the county’s nonprofit network. The Board allocated $482,000 from Coronavirus Relief Funds and the County Manager’s Contingent for the new position and the grocery gift card program.
According to Libby Garvey, the chair of the county board said there was an increase of 84% in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications, formerly known as food stamps between February and May of 2020. This grocery card pilot program will make it possible to serve up to 500 families for 6 months.
Brooke Hammond-Perez, Economic Independence Chief said, “While the number of food insecure in Arlington County maybe less than in other areas of the country, the increase has been astronomical. In addition there has been a lot of those families being served through Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) through SNAP, are families with children and so were talking about food insecurity among families as well.”
Qualifying criteria will include self-reported food insecurity, limited community mobility due to health conditions or caregiving responsibilities, and income at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, ($26,200 for a family of four). According to officials, distribution will be tracked to prevent individuals from receiving gift cards from more than one source.
Officials highlight that this program is only for Arlington County residents, and that it will launch very soon.
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