Food stamp recipients can buy fresh, local food through county program

  • Wed Jul 11th, 2018 7:00am
  • News

Submitted by San Juan County

A local campaign is helping food stamp customers stretch their dollars to make healthy food more affordable.

Nourish to Flourish – Coalition to End Hunger on San Juan is offering a $20 match for food stamp recipients at the San Juan Island Farmers Market and the San Juan Island Food Co-op. The goal of this program, called Fresh Bucks, is for everyone to have access to fresh, healthy, local food.

Basic Food, formerly known as food stamps, is available to individuals and families who, for example, earn less than $4,183 a month, or $50,196 a year, for a family of four. Clients receive an Electronic Benefits Card allowing them to purchase food such as bread, cereals, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs at authorized retailers. Seeds and plants that produce food to eat are also eligible.

How does it works?

San Juan Island Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Brickworks at 150 Nichols St. EBT cardholders receive a Fresh Bucks match up to $20 each time they shop. EBT tokens and Fresh Bucks can be used with any vendor selling EBT-eligible items.

San Juan Island Food Co-op is open daily at 775 Mullis St. Suite C. Customers purchasing fruits and vegetables with their EBT card get a 50-percent-off discount equal in value to the produce purchase up to $20 each time they shop.

Fresh Bucks supports access to healthy foods by promoting healthy choices and reducing food insecurity. Consuming the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It also generates business in the local community. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that every dollar of EBT benefits results in $1.79 in economic stimulus.

How do I qualify?

If you are enrolled in Basic Food or WIC, you are automatically eligible for Fresh Bucks. In addition, San Juan Island is offering Fresh Bucks to local residents whose income qualifies for Basic Food but who are not enrolled. If you think you are eligible, contact the San Juan County Health Department at 360-378-4474, the San Juan Island Family Resource Center at 360-378-5246 or visit www.dshs.wa.gov/BFET.