In all 50 states, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, helps low-income citizens pay for wholesome foods. Although the criteria are roughly the same coast to coast, they might vary by area.
State regulations determine how and where you can utilize such benefits throughout the vast region of the nation that the Bureau of Labor Statistics refers to as the Midwest. Additionally, what you purchase may also be influenced by other regional standards and laws. Residents will use their advantages in various ways from the Dakotas to Wisconsin, from Missouri to Michigan and Minnesota.
1. Chicago pizza
Deep-dish pizza is a household name in Chicago, the unofficial capital of the Midwest. However, you cannot use your benefits to buy a fresh, hot pizza since SNAP laws prohibit consumers from purchasing heated, prepared items.
However, customers at Papa Murphy’s in the Midwest may pay for their pizza with SNAP. This is due to the take-and-bake delivery method used for the chain’s pizza. The pizza is assembled by the restaurant personnel, and you take it home to bake it.
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin all have Papa Murphy’s locations.
2. Farmers Markets
A center for crops is in the Midwest. The area comprises 127 million acres of agricultural land, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The Midwest is known for its production of maize and soybeans, but it also grows green beans, various berries and cherries, carrots, cucumbers, grapes, oats, peaches, pears, watermelons, and other crops.
Growers may sell their goods directly to consumers at farmers’ markets all around the Midwest, and more and more of these markets are taking SNAP.
Some farmer’s markets quadruple the value of your SNAP benefits, making $5 worth of benefits equal to $10 worth of fresh produce. Find out whether your local farmers’ market accepts SNAP and has a matching program.
3. Juneberry Pie from North Dakota
Treats like cakes, doughnuts, muffins, and other baked products could be purchased using SNAP benefits by participants. Therefore, the North Dakota Juneberry Pie, a regional favorite in the Dakotas, qualifies.
Pies using the fruit “bake a rich purplish crimson and provide a nutty almond taste to every forkful,” according to Midwest Living magazine. The pies are frequently available at the booths of vendors at nearby farmers’ markets.
4. Meals on Wheels
Seniors who participate in the federally funded Meals on Wheels program receive nutritious meals. The group claims that around one-third of the cost of meals is covered by the Older Americans Act, with the other costs being covered by local governments and “private resources”.
Seniors can use their SNAP benefits in select Midwestern states including North Dakota and Minnesota. Group homes and senior citizen meal locations in North Dakota can sign up to take SNAP as well.
5. Meals in a Box
Ads for food delivery services like Hello Fresh have been seen by all of us. While SNAP cannot be used to purchase that, Top Box Foods, a regional substitute, is available to citizens in some portions of Illinois.
The business purchases fresh fruits, vegetables, frozen meats, chicken, and fish at the greatest prices, packs them in a box and delivers them to you – all of which are SNAP-accepted. Residents of Chicago/Cook County and Rockford, Illinois are the only ones who can currently use the service.
6. Restaurant Meals
It’s not exactly simple to eat out and pay with SNAP, but it is possible in the Midwest under specific circumstances and on a very limited basis. You must be 60 years of age or older, handicapped, or homeless to be eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program, which is exclusively offered in Illinois and Michigan.
The trial program in Illinois is only available in Dewitt County, Franklin County, and a few Cook County ZIP codes. More eateries looking to join can still submit applications to Michigan.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your SNAP benefits in the Midwest, it is essential to call a grocery store, farmers market, or restaurant in advance to confirm that they are a participating establishment.