W.Va. SNAP Stretch program doubling, tripling food dollars
Editor’s Note: The following story was provided by the West Virginia Press Association.
CHARLESTON — West Virginians benefiting from the state’s SNAP program can double or triple their food dollars at the state’s farmers markets.
The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, WVU Extension Family Nutrition SNAP Education, and West Virginia Farmers Market Association recently announced the launch of the “SNAP Stretch” initiative.
A dollar-for-dollar match will be made when a SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, purchase is made at participating farmers markets, roadside stands and CSAs. SNAP recipient families with children present will receive an additional dollar for dollar match in “Kids Coupons.” Kids Coupons can only be spent by youth, giving them purchasing power to choose their own healthy fruits and vegetables.
W.Va. Food & Farm Coalition Executive Director Spencer Moss said, “The project was fueled by the idea to give purchasing power to adults and children. The innovation was in response to survey results from the 2017 WV Kids Pop-Up Market Program, which gave school and daycare children $4 in ‘Kids Coupons’ to buy fruits and vegetables of their choosing from onsite pop-up farmers markets.”
“Parent survey results concluded that the majority of participating children ate almost all of the produce purchased with their ‘Kid Coupons’ because they had the power to choose. We’re grateful for our friends at WVU Extension Family Nutrition SNAP Education, as they are masterminds behind WV Kids Pop-Up Market Program,” Moss added.
Nineteen farmers markets across 15 counties are participating in SNAP Stretch, including Doddridge County Farmers Market, Fayette Farmers Market, Grow Ohio Valley, Lewisburg Farmers Market, McDowell Youth Producers Association, Morgantown Farmers Market, Putnam County Farmers Market, Wayne Co-op, Western Greenbrier Community Table and Market, Wetzel County Farmers Market, White Sulfur Springs Farmers Market, The Wild Ramp, Williamson Farmers Market, Calhoun County Farmers Market, Gritt’s Farm, Alderson Community Market, Wardensville Market, Highland Food and Farm Market, and Calhoun Family Resource Network.
“The beauty of the SNAP Stretch project is not only that families are receiving a leg up in the ability to afford to choose their food, but West Virginia farmers are earning income as well,” said Terry Hudson, owner/operator of Hudson Farms. The coalition, together with their partners, looks forward to supporting West Virginia families and farmers through this project.
Local markets interested in participating in this program should contact Gabby Scrofano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure if your community has a local market? Visit farmfreshwv.com to locate your local W.Va. market.
SNAP Stretch is funded through community support, BB&T, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, American Eye Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program.