Cindy of Owls Head, New York knows how hard it is to purchase healthy food on a SNAP budget:
“The last week of every month is always the hardest- I try to make our SNAP food assistance ($141) stretch, but it's difficult: My husband, who's 72 and hearing impaired, is on a restricted diet and the food he needs cost more. His SSI will go up by $22 Jan.12. 2015, but as you know, SNAP adjusts for that so we won't even notice the difference: That's a lousy way to treat disabled Vietnam Vets like my husband.”
Unfortunately, Cindy and her husband’s situation is far from unique. The Double SNAP Dollars program hopes to create change in the ability of our low-income friends and neighbors like Cindy to purchase and consume healthy, whole foods.
What the DSD program will do: The DSD program will provide a 1:1 match on SNAP benefits when used to purchase fresh and/or whole foods. For example, if a shopper used 5 SNAP dollars to purchase local spinach, she would receive another $5 to put towards other healthy food such as strawberries or summer squash. Further, local community organizations such as the Missoula Community Food Co-op and the Missoula Farmers Markets are implementing the program in a sustainable manner, which means that DSD also promotes bigger returns for local farmers and growers!
The Double SNAP Dollars program is set to launch June 1st! However, we can’t do this alone. In order to ensure this pilot program is successful, we need $3000 before May 15th. For every dollar you donate 90¢ will go directly to SNAP beneficiaries while the remaining 10¢ towards marketing to recipients and other potential donors. This means, when we reach our goal, there will be $2700 to help our friends and neighbors buy healthier food right here in our Co-op!
Access to Nutritious Healthy Food
Food security is the reliable access to nutritious and healthy food. Food insecurity is the struggle to consistently obtain healthy foods due to a lack of resources or reasonable access.
According to the 2013 American Community Survey results, in the Missoula Metro Area, around 13% households received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as food stamps) benefits. In North/Westside neighborhoods the rates of SNAP beneficiaries are much higher. About 26% of households living on the North/Westside received SNAP benefits.
SNAP contributes to improved food access; however many individuals and families are still food insecure even with SNAP benefits. In 2014, the average monthly benefit for a Montanan was less than $4 dollars a day or just over $1 a meal! Individuals and families struggle to eat on such a small budget and have an even more difficult time gaining access to fresh and nutritious foods.
Double SNAP Dollars as a Solution
The Double SNAP Dollars (DSD) program is a local solution. DSD is a collaboration of local organizations working to help stretch food dollars further. Partnering organizations include:
- The Missoula Community Food Co-op with the North Missoula Community Development Corporation;
- Community Food and Agriculture Coalition;
- Clark Fork River Market;
- the Missoula Farmers Market
Together the collaboration of organizations is dedicated to fighting food insecurity in our communities. The DSD program will be implemented at the Missoula Food Co-op and both farmers markets.
Growing Additional Partners We have many organizational partners, but we cannot implement the DSD program without additional individual and organizational supporters. Donated funds will go directly to the Co-op’s match pool, which means every dollar you contribute will have a direct impact on improving food security. Together we can help to keep bellies full through affordable access to the best food around!