Chelsea food debit card program available for Chelsea residents

The City has released its guidelines and applications for the new Chelsea Eats food debit card, a measure meant to add dignity for residents seeking food resources and to also replace the lines for food that have been ever-present since April at the City and private food pop-up pantries.

The program was announced this month, and was funded in part by CARES Act monies, private donations and the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

“Food insecurity, a deeply rooted issue, has gravely worsened as a result of COVID-19 and the economic downtown,” read a statement from the City. “The City of Chelsea, in consultation with community-based organizations, has established a new program to assist Chelsea residents with access to fresh and culturally appropriate food, in an effort to combat food insecurity. The purpose of the program, entitled Chelsea Eats, is to provide urgently needed resources to purchase food in a safe, dignified manner.”

The City, through its Department of Housing and Community Development and Department of Public Works, is actively advancing a comprehensive food sustainability program. Conceived as a transitional bridge from the City food pantries, Chelsea Eats represents a key initiative, which will be undertaken with other vital steps, to serve residents in need. Income eligible residents may be eligible to receive a preloaded debit card to buy groceries and baby products at local Chelsea retailers. 

The program is open to all income-eligible Chelsea residents who meet the program’s criteria, regardless of their immigration status: 

•Be a Chelsea resident.

•Submit a fully completed application

•Your application must certify compliance with requirements related to household income, assets, and public benefits

•Your household income must be at or below 30% of the HUD Area Median Income (AMI). The limits are as follows:

•One person – $26,850

•Two people – $30,700

•Three people – $34,550

•Four people – $38,350

•Five people – $41,450

•Six people – $44,500

•Seven people – $47,600

•Eight people – $50,650

Families with children, disabled residents, veterans, seniors over 65, households that have been economically impacted by COVID-19, and households that are ineligible for other forms of federal assistance, such as SNAP and WIC will have preferences. The program will also connect eligible residents to SNAP, WIC, and other forms of food assistance. Local merchants interested in participating in the program as an Official Chelsea Eats Partner are encouraged to contact the Department of Housing and Community Development by calling 617-466-4192. 

The deadline for applications is August 17, 2020. Applications are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole and Arabic. They can be found at www.chelseama.gov/ChelseaEats. Completed applications can be e-mailed to [email protected]

Chelsea Eats has no cost for applicants. Debit cards can be used only in grocery and convenience stores. This is a local program, and the public charge rule does not apply to it. 

City Hall during business hours: 

• Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 am to 3 pm. Tuesdays from 9 am to 6 pm

• Friday from 9 am to 11 am.  

City’s food pantry locations, from 9 a.m. to noon: 

• Center (Shurtleff St. entrance).  

• Tuesday – Bellingham Hill Park (100 Bellingham St.). 

• Wednesday – Washington Park (Prattville). 

• Thursday – Chelsea Square (Broadway near the Police Station). 

• Friday – Mary C. Burke Complex Parking lot (300 Crescent Ave). 

1 comment for “Chelsea food debit card program available for Chelsea residents

  1. Candy S Winam
    August 7, 2020 at 6:56 am

    How do you obtain an application?

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