The City of Seattle is taking steps to help residents who may be experiencing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The City is contributing $5 million to provide emergency food vouchers to approximately 6,250 families in need. See below for answers to frequently asked questions.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is eligible to receive vouchers?
The Office of Sustainability and Environment is coordinating directly with other City departments to identify those who may be most in need. People who receive these vouchers are currently enrolled in City-supported child care and food assistance programs.
What if I am not currently enrolled in City-supported child care and food assistance programs?
If you are not currently enrolled in City-supported childcare and food assistance programs and still need support, you can access other food benefits. For example, meals are being served in a daily basis at different public schools and local foodbanks are still serving their constituents in different ways. For more information on these and other services visit www.seattle.gov/covid-19.
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 Emergency Food Vouchers. Presently, we are serving 6,250 families who are enrolled in some City-supported child care and City-supported food assistance programs. If we get more funding to expand the program more widely, more information will become available at www.seattle.gov/covid-19.
How long will these vouchers be available?
There will be two mailings of vouchers, with the first batch available for use until April 30, 2020, and the second batch available for use until May 31, 2020. The total amount will be $800 in vouchers over 8 weeks.
How do the vouchers work?
Customers can use these vouchers (up to 20 vouchers in one transaction) just as they would cash at any Washington Safeway store. Customers will present these vouchers to the cashier at check out and need to enter their Safeway Club Card number in order for the voucher discount to be applied to the transaction. Vouchers are not able to be used for transactions in self check-out 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?
These vouchers can be used to purchase any item at Safeway except for tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, or fuel.
How is this funded?
The City of Seattle has committed $5 million to support this program, which will provide 8 weeks of groceries for 6,250 families in need. Our goal is to raise an additional $15 million, so that the program can meet the grocery needs of 25,000 families. Assuming 4 people per family, this will provide two months of groceries for 100,000 Seattle residents.
Can I contribute to support this program?
Thank you for wanting to support this program! We are currently working with businesses and the philanthropic community to secure additional funding for this program. The United Way of King County has also set up a Community Relief Fund that will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the Coronavirus outbreak in the Puget Sound region. This fund can accept donations of any amount.
What if I’ve received 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?
Emergency Food Vouchers can only be used for in-store purchases. If you are an emergency food voucher 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.