City officials are asking local bodega and convenience store owners to help bring affordable, fresh produce to low-income Bostonians.
Mayor Kim Janey announced Friday that the Mayor’s Office for Access to Food (OFA) has received a $ 500,000 grant to help expand Boston Double Up Food Bucks, a SNAP incentive program that allows reduce purchases of fresh fruit and vegetables by 50% up to $ 10 by participating in grocers. SNAP beneficiaries are automatically eligible for the program and can access the reduction by paying with an EBT card.
“Everyone deserves to have access to affordable, nutritious meals,” Janey said in a press release. “Especially during the pandemic, the health of our residents is paramount. This program helps Boston residents while helping our small businesses. I encourage any eligible store owner interested in applying and taking advantage of this opportunity.
Since launching in Boston in 2018, the program has enabled families benefiting from SNAP to buy more healthy food, helped grocers gain new customers, and kept more food dollars in the local economy, according to officials. The city hopes more small grocers will apply to be part of the program.
If there ever was a time when hungry Bostonians needed help, it’s right now.
Earlier this year, the Boston Food Bank reported an increase in food insecurity in eastern Massachusetts, with a 66% increase in the number of people having difficulty accessing healthy food. That number represents one in eight people in the Boston area.
The Double Up partnership provides participating stores with technical assistance and program coaching. Local store owners have reported positive changes since joining Double Up.
“I have repeat customers who always ask for the incentive and see the benefit of eating healthy,” said Juana Martinez of Monumental Meat Market in Dorchester.
Neighborhood grocery stores, bodegas and convenience stores can join the program by filling out an online form. Store owners can direct questions about the program to 617-635-3717 or email [email protected].
In addition to the grant, which was awarded as part of USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, the city will also contribute an additional $ 500,000 to support Double Up’s expansion. Boston OFA offers a variety of other food programs and initiatives, including Summer Eats, Farmers’ Markets, community refrigerators, and support for urban agriculture.
The National Double Up Food Bucks Program is powered by Fair Food Network, a national nonprofit that focuses on community health and wealth through nutritious food.
Where Double Up Food Bucks is Currently Available in Boston
Dorchester: The Daily Table, 450 Washington St. & Monumental Meat Market, 213 Washington St.
Boston East: Delicious Market, 6A Brooks St. & Carniceria & Legumbreria, 9 Meridian St.
Roxbury: Daily Table, 2201 Washington St. & F & T’s Davey’s Supermarket, 438 Dudley St.
Jamaica Plain: Pimentel Market, 340 Center Street
Mattapan: Aguasvivas Market, 926 Morton Street and Tejeda Family Market, 1435 Blue Hill Ave.
About Double Up
Double Up is available in 25 states at more than 900 locations, from farmers to grocery stores, according to the organization. The program was first piloted in 2009, in Detroit, before expanding to the United States.
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