Updated August 2020
The City of Seattle is helping residents who may be experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Starting in March, the City distributed Emergency Grocery Vouchers (also known as Emergency Food Vouchers) to help ensure households have access to healthy food and supplies. The program started as a two-month program and has been extended and expanded several times. Recipients receive $400 in vouchers for their first three months and $180 after that. Households were enrolled by partnering community-based organizations and by the City.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I apply for Emergency Grocery Vouchers?
No, there is no open application for this program.
Who is Eligible to Receive Emergency Grocery Vouchers?
Recipients of Emergency Grocery Vouchers include households participating in City-managed childcare and food assistance programs and households enrolled by partnering community-based organizations.
- City-managed programs: Child Care Assistance Program, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, Seattle Preschool Program (limited to families below 350% federal poverty level), Fresh Bucks Vouchers (limited to customers enrolled by community-based organizations), Child Care Nutrition Program (limited to Tier 1 providers and families), and Seattle Youth Employment Program
- Community-based organizations: Asian Counseling and Referral Services, API Chaya, Atlantic Street Center, Black and Tan – a collective, Byrd Barr Place, Casa Latina, Central Area Senior Center, Central Area Youth Association, Chief Seattle Club, Children’s Home Society of Washington, Community Passageways, Entre Hermanos, Eritrean Association of Greater Seattle, Fair Work Center, FEEST, Got Green, Horn of Africa Services, Ingersoll Gender Center, InteriIm CDA, Lake City Collective, Latino Community Fund, Providence Regina House, Queer the Land, Rainer Valley Midwives, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Somali Health Board, SouthEast Seattle Senior Center, United Indians of All Tribes, United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Villa Comunitaria, and West African Community Council
Why were these community-based organizations chosen?
These organizations have deep, longstanding ties to the communities they serve. The organizations are focused on reaching families disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and displaced workers who are unable to access other forms of government aid due to systemic racism and institutional barriers, like language barriers, fear of deportation, or experiencing domestic violence.
I am not receiving Emergency Grocery Vouchers, what other food resources are available for me?
Grocery vouchers are one of many resources available to support those in need. Please explore other resources across our community during this time of need by visiting the City of Seattle Mayor’s COVID-19 community resources and Public Health Seattle King County emergency resources. For example, United Way of King County is offering free home delivery of emergency food boxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may also be eligible for Pandemic-EBT, a new and temporary food benefit to help families buy groceries for their children because schools have been closed due to COVID-19. Any child can receive P-EBT, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The only requirement is a child must be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
Does SNAP/EBT/Basic Food (food stamp) participation mean I will receive these benefits?
Participating in SNAP (or receiving food stamps) does not mean you will automatically receive grocery vouchers.
How is the Emergency Grocery Voucher program funded?
The program is supported by funding from the City, private and philanthropic contributions facilitated through the United Way of King County, and the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the CARES Act.
More Information about the Emergency Grocery Vouchers
How long will grocery vouchers be available?
The program has been extended through October 2020.
How do the grocery vouchers work?
Customers can use their vouchers (up to 20 vouchers in one transaction) just as they would cash at any Washington Safeway store. Customers present their vouchers to the cashier at checkout and need to enter their Safeway Club Card number for the voucher discount to be applied to the transaction. Vouchers are not able to be used for transactions in self-checkout lanes. No change is given for purchases less than the voucher value. Vouchers are non-transferable and void if copied. Lost or stolen vouchers cannot be replaced.
What products are covered?
Vouchers can be used to purchase any item at Safeway except for tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, gift cards, or fuel.
What if I’ve received Emergency Grocery Vouchers but don’t want them?
If you believe you’ve received these vouchers in error, or do not want to receive additional vouchers, please email SeaFoodVoucher@seattle.gov or call 206-684-CITY (2489) to opt-out.
What if I am too sick or need to be quarantined and can’t shop?
Vouchers can only be used for in-store purchases. If you are program recipient who is quarantined or unable to get to a grocery store due to COVID-related concerns, please call 206-684-CITY to request grocery delivery services.
More information about additional community, county, and state resources for residents impacted by COVID-19 is available here: http://www.seattle.gov/covid-19. If you still have questions, please call 206-684-CITY.