BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The state is accepting applications from restaurants and food truck operators to participate in a pilot program that will expand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

 The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) will include restaurants and food trucks that are locally privately owned and provide counter-based service and payment.

Using federal guidelines, the RMP will allow persons who are homeless, disabled, and households with older adults aged 60 and older to use their SNAP benefits at select, participating restaurants and food trucks that offer reduced-price meal options.

The idea is to expand food choice options and food access points for persons who have difficulties purchasing and storing groceries, as well as cooking and preparing meals for themselves.

“Opening a Notice of Opportunity to enroll restaurants and food trucks in the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program reflects the Administration’s commitment to offering Massachusetts households culturally accessible food while supporting local communities and businesses,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “This effort builds on the success of the equity framework used to enroll additional Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) vendors as we continue to promote food security across the Commonwealth and a just and equitable food system and environment.”

“SNAP remains an important tool to help fight food insecurity by putting money directly into the hands of more than 600,000 households and supporting our local communities, businesses, and their employees,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Acting Commissioner Mary Sheehan. “The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program promotes equity and safety for older adults, residents with disabilities, and individuals experiencing homelessness receiving SNAP benefits, allowing many low-income households access to the same purchasing power as other customers. This Notice of Opportunity is a key first step in making this critical option available to the families and individuals we serve.”

Applicants for the Notice of Opportunity must meet multiple criteria including providing services to underserved communities and areas classified as food deserts with limited existing access or other food access barriers, and businesses that demonstrate they can service SNAP clients with disabilities and those with other accessibility challenges.

Restaurants and food trucks can apply now through August 31, 2022. The pilot program is expected to begin in fall 2022.  Learn more about the NOO and RMP program at Mass.gov/SNAPRestaurants.