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Equipment offered to retail to safely use FoodShares

As of Dec. 7, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), is offering eligible retailers across the state, the opportunity to obtain free equipment that allows them to process FoodShare purchases wirelessly. Use of this equipment will increase FoodShare members’ access to alternative grocery shopping options, such as curbside pickup and payment.

FoodShare has been a crucial lifeline to safe and nutritious food for almost 700,000 Wisconsinites, during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many smaller retailers who accept these benefits, have not had the opportunity to offer alternative services for FoodShare members, because of technology limitations.

Using funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Wisconsin hopes to help retailers offer a safer shopping experience for all involved.

“Wisconsin has been seeing critically high levels of COVID-19 cases for weeks, and we know that the best way to prevent the spread of this disease, is by limiting exposure to others outside your household,” said DHS secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “There are some activities though, like shopping for food, that are necessities. By helping retailers expand their options for accepting electronic payments from Wisconsinites, using FoodShare, we can help protect both shoppers and workers by reducing their direct contact with one another.”

To be eligible to receive the equipment, retailers need to already be approved to accept FoodShare benefits in Wisconsin. Eligible retailers include not only grocers, but also other vendors that sell food, like gas stations, farmers markets and direct marketing farmers. To sign up, retailers will visit the application site and provide information to show that they are an approved retailer.

When they apply, retailers will have the opportunity to select between two types of equipment packages, depending on what will work best for them. The program will be open as long as funds are available, so eligible retailers are encouraged to sign up early.