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7/7/2022 Sen. Lawson and Rep. Barros’ SNAP rebate legislation included in the budget
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Valarie J. Lawson and Rep. Jean Philippe Barros’ legislation that would create an innovative new program in Rhode Island and immediately help tens of thousands of Rhode Island families afford fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables has been included in the FY 2023 state budget.

The budget item appropriated $11.5 million from general revenues to launch a retail Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) pilot program. Eligible households will receive an incentive payment of $0.50 for every $1.00 spent on fruits and vegetables.

In essence, this program would double SNAP recipients’ purchasing power in the produce aisles at local markets.  Over 140,000 Rhode Islanders use the SNAP program.

“The pandemic has shined a glaring light on the level of food insecurity in our state. According to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, one in four Rhode Island families with children are going hungry. This is one of the highest rates of hunger Rhode Island has seen in decades, and among the highest in the nation.  As the cost of food continues to increase and wealth inequality continues to grow, the problem of food insecurity will only worsen. I cannot think of a more important investment in our state’s future than feeding our families, friends and neighbors who do not have enough food to remain healthy and survive and I thank my colleagues in the Assembly for supporting this program in the budget,” said Senator Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence).

“Food insecurity and access to healthy foods is a serious problem in our state that affects far too many children, families and individuals.  The pandemic has brought many things to light, particularly around food access and health disparities in our most vulnerable populations, and we need to make the appropriate investments to help correct this.  As a member of the House Finance Committee, I advocated strongly for this program to be included in the budget and I am thankful that the General Assembly agreed on its passage,” said Representative Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket).

The budget item was created from legislation (2022-S 2310A, 2022-H 7490) sponsored by Senator Lawson and Representative Barros.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903