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Independent Grocer Testifies to Protect SNAP

Capitol Hill

Michael Gay, owner and single-store operator of Food Fresh in Evans County, Georgia, testified before Congress Wednesday on behalf of the National Grocers Association, warning that limiting SNAP choice would undermine the program’s effectiveness, create confusion for participants, and impose a costly bureaucratic burden on small businesses nationwide, said NGA.

“Restricting eligible items to those approved by the USDA will quickly drive up food costs and strangle the program with needless red tape," said Gay. “With SNAP Choice, every American—regardless of their financial situation—can continue to feed themselves and their families in the way that works best for them," Gay said.

In February, nearly 2,500 grocers signed a letter to Congress opposing SNAP restrictions and denouncing a policy pilot that limited the types of foods covered under the SNAP program.

“We believe a SNAP restriction pilot would be just as harmful as a nationwide policy and we strongly urge the committee to oppose any policy leading to the restriction of SNAP purchases. One of the many reasons this program is successful is the ease of processing SNAP transactions for retailers and beneficiaries who can make their own decisions on which food items to purchase for their household." Said Gay.

The National Grocers Association is coordinating an event, Fly-In for Fair Competition in Washington D.C., wherein the Association helps independent grocers engage with Congress members to address industry issues. Gay is testifying as part of the event and, today, nearly 120 independent grocers will head to Capitol Hill to conduct over 100 meetings with policymakers, said NGA.

“Our members are dedicated to serving their communities, and through these advocacy efforts, we aim to ensure that they operate on a level playing field," said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO in a statement. “This Fly-In is a testament to our commitment to championing the issues that matter most to independent grocers and the consumers they serve."