Instacart, the leading grocery technology company in North America, today announced a special Community Carts campaign and an extension of its discounted Instacart+ membership for SNAP recipients to help families continue to put nutritious food on the table as emergency COVID-19 SNAP benefits expire in 32 states. The expiration means grocery budgets will tighten by at least $95 per month for more than 30 million people and, as a result, many local food banks that are already facing supply shortages amid rising food prices are now bracing for a surge in demand for assistance.
To help Feeding America® partner food banks stock their shelves and ensure those seeking assistance can find it, Instacart is expanding its Community Carts initiative and launching a public awareness campaign to help drive donations to food banks in nearly every state where emergency SNAP funding is expiring. Instacart's Community Carts tool reimagines the traditional food drive, allowing anyone to easily donate the grocery items their local food banks have identified they need most, with items delivered directly to the food bank by Instacart shoppers.
Starting March 1, anyone can donate food items to almost 100 Feeding America® partner food banks in 31 states where emergency SNAP funds will expire at the end of the month through Community Carts. That is in addition to 24 food banks in 16 states where additional SNAP allotments have already expired. In total, individuals will be able to participate in crowdsourced cart building for good by donating groceries to more than 120 food banks in 47 states, with delivery and service fees waived on every donation order.
"Our goal is to put more food on the table for more families," said Instacart Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Dani Dudeck. "As grocery budgets tighten for millions of SNAP recipients and lines stretch longer at food banks across the country, accessing affordable, nutritious food has never been harder. At Instacart, we're committed to finding more ways to support food banks nationwide so they can continue to serve their communities and feed more families."
Instacart's Community Carts tool helps food banks secure larger, more targeted donations that match their unique needs. This past holiday season, Instacart customers donated tens of thousands of groceries and other essentials specifically requested by food banks through Community Carts. Anyone can find their local food bank and donate at instacart.com/donate.
"Many partner food banks are preparing for heightened demand as SNAP benefits return to pre-pandemic levels," said Lauren Biedron, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at Feeding America. "With this special Community Carts campaign, Instacart is helping food banks get donations that meet their unique needs and stock their shelves during a critical time. We are grateful for our continued partnership with Instacart and the support they provide to food banks nationwide."
Instacart is also extending its discounted Instacart+ membership program for SNAP recipients. Under the program, anyone who uses an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) SNAP card to buy groceries on Instacart is eligible for a discounted Instacart+ membership at $4.99/month (50% off) for 12 months. With Instacart+, individuals can access free delivery and Pickup on orders over $35, 5% credit back on all Pickup orders, and reduced service fees on every order.
Research published in 2022 by the University of Kentucky, No Kid Hungry and Instacart found that access to online grocery and delivery can help families with lower incomes save time, reduce transportation costs, and more effectively manage their budgets. SNAP recipients who grocery shop online also purchase more fruits and vegetables than in-store shoppers, without increasing their total grocery bill, according to the research.
"Our research has shown that online grocery shopping can provide very real benefits for families on tight food budgets, including SNAP recipients," said Courtney Smith, SVP Program Research, Innovation and Impact at No Kid Hungry. "Instacart's discounted membership for SNAP recipients is one solution that can help more food-insecure families tap into the many benefits of online grocery – including saving time, managing their budgets, and reducing transportation barriers. We applaud Instacart for helping more families access the nutritious food they need."
The Community Carts campaign and Instacart+ SNAP discount program are part of Instacart's broader commitment to increasing nutrition security in communities most in need. The company partners with more than 1,000 retailers across over 75,000 stores and reaches over 95% of North American households, including more than 93% of homes in food deserts. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food & Nutrition Service, Instacart also pioneered the EBT SNAP retailer onboarding process in 2020. Today, Instacart enables online SNAP payments with more than 70 retailers across more than 8,000 stores in 49 states and Washington D.C.
Instacart last year launched Instacart Health, a sweeping initiative designed to deliver the ingredients for healthier living through Instacart's products, partnerships, and policy advocacy. To learn more about Instacart Health, visit www.instacart.com/company/health.
To donate to food banks through Community Carts, visit www.instacart.com/donate.
Instacart, 02/23/2023, As Emergency SNAP Benefits Expire, Instacart Launches Special Campaign to Support Families and Food Banks Across the Country, [Press Release]
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