ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, is calling on convenience store retailers to compose a letter to their local politicians, asking them to sign a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that encourages the government agency to alter proposed provisions regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
According to NACS, it has drafted the letter on behalf of c-store retailers, who can send it to their representative in just two minutes.
On Feb. 17, the USDA’s Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) published a proposed rule altering the eligibility requirements for retailers participating in SNAP. According to NACS, the proposal codifies the 2014 Farm Bill provisions — something NACS supported — but also makes other changes to retailer eligibility requirements that Congress never intended to address in the bill.
“If these provisions are enacted as drafted, it will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, for convenience store retailers to redeem SNAP benefits, which will be devastating to the families who depend on these stores for access for food,” NACS stated in a news release.
Alexandria-based NACS is supporting a bipartisan letter led by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) to the USDA, which raises concerns that the proposed rule goes beyond what Congress intended in the 2014 Farm Bill. The letter drafted by the politicians highlights the integral role convenience stores play in SNAP as key access points for low-income Americans.
"As proposed, the ruling would exacerbate the harmful effects of food deserts in inner-city and rural areas and severely limit food accessibility for people with disabilities, working mothers, veterans and other underserved populations who rely on SNAP benefits to feed themselves and their families," NACS stated.
NACS' grassroots system makes it easy for retailers to get involved by identifying local legislators based on a business and home address provided. "Once you hit SEND, you'll have the ability to forward the call to action to your colleagues, which is highly encouraged. The more people who send letters to Capitol Hill, the more likely our industry's message will be heard,” NACS wrote in its advocacy letter.
The deadline to make comments about the SNAP proposal is May 18. However, NACS has asked c-store retailers to take action by May 13.
C-store operators wishing to take part in the campaign can click here.