Company Updates

Taking a Bite Out of Summer Hunger: How Instacart is Supporting Local Food Banks and the Summer EBT Program

Dani Dudeck

Dani Dudeck

Jun 10, 2024

For some families, summer evokes images of swimming pools and backyard barbeques. But for too many families — including far too many children — summer instead means more frequent hunger pangs and months of not knowing when or where they will get their next meal. 

Today, the food insecurity rate in the United States has climbed to more than 12 percent, affecting millions of families across the country. The challenge intensifies when schools break for summer, pausing access to free and reduced-cost school meal programs for the 28 million U.S. students who depend on them during the academic year. As a result, each summer, food banks and other community programs face a surge in demand for support. 

At Instacart, we’re committed to doing our part to help. 

SUPPORTING LOCAL FOOD BANKS

Today, we’re launching Instacart’s second annual nationwide Summer Hunger Community Carts campaign to drive food donations to more than 100 Feeding America partner food banks across the country, helping them stock their shelves and support families who are food insecure in their communities. 

First launched in 2022, Instacart’s Community Carts tool reimagines the traditional food drive, making it easy for anyone to donate the exact grocery items their local food banks need most. Items are delivered directly to the food bank by Instacart shoppers from nearby grocers and retailers. And as part of this Summer Hunger campaign, Instacart will be waiving all service and delivery fees on every Community Carts donation. 

Whether you donate a few cans of food or a whole cart, every donation counts. As individuals come together nationwide to contribute to Community Carts, our collective efforts will help provide essential support to our neighbors in need.

To donate to a local food bank, you can visit instacart.com/donate


EXPANDING ACCESS THROUGH SUMMER EBT

Instacart is proud to be the first online grocery platform to offer online SNAP payments in all 50 states across the country. And this summer, in states that opted into a new federal program, eligible families with children will be able to access additional SNAP funds to help put more food on the table while schools are out.

Under the new Summer EBT program, eligible families in 45 states, territories, and tribal nations with school-aged children can get an additional $120 per child to buy groceries during the summer. The program will allow families, including those who face transportation barriers and parents who are working full-time, to buy food in-store or online without needing to travel to summer food distribution sites, providing more flexibility and easier access to nutritious food.

Instacart was proud to partner with national advocacy leaders and local nonprofits to advocate for the Summer EBT program and, later, encourage states to opt into the program. We applaud the bipartisan lawmakers at the federal and state levels who have made this important program permanent for millions of families across the country at a critical time of heightened food insecurity. 

At Instacart, we offer online SNAP payments from more than 170 retailer banners spanning over 14,000 stores nationwide, reaching 96% of U.S. households enrolled in SNAP. On Instacart, families can shop online with their SNAP benefits from local favorites like Hy-Vee, Meijer, Schnucks, Sprouts and Stater Brothers, discount grocers like ALDI, club stores like Costco, and national brands like Albertsons and Kroger. 

Through our platform, we’re giving families greater dignity of choice, helping them get everything they need delivered using their SNAP funds — and in the process, helping them stretch their food budgets, save time, and reduce stress

We’re also offering free delivery on the first three Instacart orders for new customers and 50% off an Instacart+ membership for all SNAP recipients, which unlocks benefits like free delivery on every order over $35 and much more. 

To learn more about the summer SNAP program (including whether your state is participating), visit USDA’s website, and click here to learn about using EBT SNAP on Instacart

UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO FIGHTING HUNGER

These are just two ways Instacart is helping combat hunger and nutrition insecurity for families in the communities we serve — including children across the country. 

We have also teamed up with No Kid Hungry and Mercy Housing on a new program to provide more nutritious food to families living in affordable housing communities and study the resulting nutrition and health outcomes. We’re working with the Military Family Advisory Network to help members of the armed forces and their families access more nutritious food following base relocations. And we’re working with the American Cancer Society to help families with children undergoing cancer treatments get fresh, nutritious food delivered to their temporary homes at ACS Hope Lodges. 

On the advocacy front, we continue to work to ensure every family can access nutritious food. For example, in tandem with local and stateside anti-hunger leaders, we have successfully advocated for Universal School Meals legislation in Massachusetts and supported similar campaigns in Oregon and Washington. 

We’re also the inaugural corporate sponsor of the Mayors Alliance to End Childhood Hunger, proudly working with mayors from across the country to support initiatives that combat childhood hunger. We also recently expanded our partnership with the National WIC Association, doubling down on our commitment to strengthen and modernize the WIC program and ensure every new mother and young child can access the nutritious food they need. These initiatives — among many more — are all part of Instacart Health, our company’s sweeping initiative designed to expand food access, scale food as medicine programs, and promote better health in communities across the country. To learn more about Instacart Health, please visit www.instacart.com/health.

Dani Dudeck

Dani Dudeck

Dani Dudeck is the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Instacart.

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