The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the face of food access in Madison and Dane County. There are new challenges for individuals who historically have had low access to food. There are also emerging challenges for the broader community as citizens grapple with changes to the way they previously visited the grocery store and purchased food.
This document serves to collect information related to food access for Dane County Households.
Individuals with limited or no income can dial 2-1-1 from any phone to identify the nearby emergency food options.
Most food pantries in Dane County have now switched to curbside or drive-thru pickup to minimize points of contact between volunteers, staff, and shoppers.
Grocery stores, convenience stores, and other places engaged have remained open throughout the pandemic. Masks are required indoors, and some stores may limit the number of shoppers. Further, certain retailers are providing special hours of operation for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
The pandemic has also created supply chain issues for some products. Certain items may have quantity limits, and other products which were previously available may now be frequently out of stock.
If you have questions about products or operations at any area retailer, it is recommended to call ahead or check the store’s website before visiting.
Food Delivery Options
The following grocery stores offer online ordering and delivery. Due to the high demand for grocery delivery at this time, delivery services may be subject to change. Taxes and fees for delivery may apply. Call ahead or visit the store’s website to confirm availability of the service you are looking for:
- Pick ‘N Save
- Metro Market
- Willy Street Co-op
- Fresh Madison Market
- Whole Foods for Amazon Prime members in select zip codes
- Instacart offers shopping and delivery from multiple stores including Aldi, Target, Festival, Piggly Wiggly, and more.
- Gopuff offers grocery delivery
Meal kit (prep/planning) delivery services:
Restaurant ordering apps (available on Google Play and the App Store)
- Uber Eats
- Eat Street
Individuals with limited means may qualify for supplemental nutrition assistance from the federal government. These programs will provide benefits that can be spent like cash at grocery retailers.
- SNAP/FoodShare – The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as FoodShare in Wisconsin) benefits can be applied for at https://access.wisconsin.gov/access/
- WIC – Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits for pregnant or postpartum women and children under age 5 can be applied for at https://www.publichealthmdc.com/health-services/women-infants-children-wic-program/pre-qualification-form
FoodShare and Grocery Delivery
UPDATE: As of June, 2020 The US Department of Agriculture has allowed a nationwide waiver for online use of SNAP/FoodShare benefits. While the hope is that more retailers will become certified for this service, this is currently ONLY available in Dane County through Walmart and Amazon/Whole Foods.
Other retailers can still process FoodShare benefits for an online grocery delivery order, but it may require that the recipient read their card information over the phone or that the FoodShare Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card is swiped when the delivery person arrives to drop off the order. Services will vary.
The following grocers have confirmed that they provide options for FoodShare participants to use online delivery: Fresh Madison Market
- Fresh Madison Market
- Willy Street Co-op
FoodShare benefits cannot be used to pay for the delivery fees a shopper may incur. These fees will need to be paid using either a debit or credit card.
WIC benefits are not able to be used for delivered products at this time.
For individuals participating on FoodShare who are COVID-19 positive, under isolation, or otherwise uninterested in visiting a store in person, there are ways to allow another person to use your card to purchase groceries in person on your behalf.
- An Authorized Buyer is added to a Foodshare account and both parties receive EBT cards for the same account.
- An Alternate Payee receives a card on behalf of the account holder
FoodShare users can request an authorized buyer or alternate payee be added to their account by completing the following form (Available in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Russian):
Once the form is received and entered by Dane County Department of Human Services, the card issuing agency will send the card to the appropriate individuals. This process may take 5-7 days.
It is important to know that any cards issued remain active unless the client contacts the Dane County Department of Human Services and completes and submits the form to remove the client. It also remains active if the case closes and the client reapplies in the future.
Emergency Coronavirus SNAP benefits and Pandemic-EBT
As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the federal government authorized additional SNAP/FoodShare benefits be issued to some families. These benefit boosts have now expired, pending further federal legislation.
Additional Pandemic EBT benefits were provided to families with school-age children who would have otherwise participated in free/reduced-price meals during school closures at the end of the 2019-2020 spring semester. Those benefits may continue to appear on some families FoodShare accounts through the summer, but additional benefits are also limited pending further federal legislation.
Double Dollars Double Dollars is a program available in Madison and Dane County to double the money available to FoodShare recipients at participating farmers markets and the Willy St. Co-op.
More information: https://www.cacscw.org/services/food-security/double-dollars/
Download this information as a PDF: UPDATED COVID-19 Food Access Resources_021621
Developed in partnership by Public Health Madison/Dane County and Dane County Extension