What Will Food Stamps Buy?

By WISE Web Admin
By Megan Trent

December 7, 2010 Updated Dec 7, 2010 at 8:35 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The economy has an increasing number of families turning to food stamps, and choosing eligible items can be confusing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially renamed the Food Stamp Program the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. Actual stamps are a thing of the past as well. People now use electronic benefits transfer cards, or EBTs.

You can use those cards to buy breads, fruits, veggies, meat, fish, dairy, and even seeds and plants to grow your own food. Junk food, cakes, and pumpkins are okay too. Energy drinks with a "nutrition facts" label qualify, but red bull or monster with a "supplemental facts" label wouldn't.

What doesn't qualify is more tricky. You can't buy alcohol, tobacco, pet food, cleaning or household supplies, medicine, vitamins, or anything non-edible. You also can't purchase a hot food item, because it's too closely related to restaurants, which also do not qualify.

Employees at Owen's North in Huntington have started marking their cold deli meats with special "food stamp" stickers.

Karen Smith manages the Deli and Bakery at Owen's North in Huntington. She says, "We've just started using those in the deli, and we just started this year. And yes, it has made a difference because people will say, 'oh, I didn't know that was eligible."

Owen's North Assistant Manager Mitch Pelly says, "We all get frustrated at times, so I think it just makes their experience a lot easier, in and out, they can know what's available and what's not."

For more information on SNAP or what foods qualify, visit http://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/2691.htm

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