Island Grown Solutions - Ending Hunger on San Juan Island
Nourish to Flourish – Coalition to End Hunger on San Juan Island is offering $20 Fresh Bucks at the San Juan Island Farmers Market and the San Juan Island Food Co-op starting July 1. The Fresh Bucks Program’s goal is everyone should have access to fresh, healthy, local food. Nourish to Flourish in partnership with the San Juan Island Family Resource Center, San Juan County Health and Community Services, Friday Harbor Food Bank, San Juan Island Farmers Market, and San Juan Island Food Co-op is helping Basic Food customers stretch their dollars to make healthy food more affordable.
Basic Food, formerly known as food stamps, is available to individuals and families who are, for example, earning less than $4,183 a month ($50,196/ year) for a family of 4. Clients receive an Electronic Benefits (EBT) Card allowing them to purchase foods at authorized retailers such as: bread, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and eggs. In addition, seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat are also eligible.
How it Works
Farmers Markets At the San Juan Island Farmers Markets open Saturdays from 9:30-1:00PM at the Brickworks Building 150 Nichols St, Electronic Benefits (EBT) cardholders swipe their card for the amount of EBT they wish to spend and they receive a Fresh Bucks match up to $20. Example: an EBT cardholder swipes their EBT card for $20 EBT and receives $20 in EBT tokens and $20 in matching Fresh Bucks. EBT tokens and Fresh Bucks can be used with any vendor selling EBT eligible items.
Food Co-op At San Juan Island Co-op open daily located at 775 Mullis St #C, customers purchasing fruits and vegetables with their EBT card get a 50% off discount equal in value to the produce purchase up to $20 off. Example: the customer purchases $40 of fruits and vegetables using their EBT card. They get $20 in Fresh Bucks discount so their EBT charge is only $20.
Why Fresh Bucks?
Fresh Bucks supports access to healthy foods by promoting healthy choices and reducing food insecurity. More reasons the Fresh Bucks program makes sense include:
Giving Basic Food shoppers a bonus for using their benefits promotes shopping at farmers markets and Food Co-ops.Consuming the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.Reducing the risk of disease decreases health care costs, increases productivity, and gives youth a healthy start!These positive outcomes bring more Basic Food users to the markets, generating business in the local community. The USDA estimates that every dollar of EBT benefits results in $1.79 in economic stimulus.
How do I qualify?
If you think you may be income eligible for Basic Food benefits contact the Health Department at 360-378-4474 or the San Juan Island Family Resource Center at 360-378-5246 or go online to www.dshs.wa.gov/BFET. In addition, San Juan Island is offering the Fresh Bucks incentive to local residents that income qualify for Basic Food but are not enrolled also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). WIC participants are automatically eligible for Fresh Bucks.
Other Food Assistance Programs
San Juan Island has resources to help ensure individuals and families are accessing healthy food. Call 360-378-4474 to find out more information on these programs.
· Women Infants Children (WIC) Program – Food vouchers and Nutrition Services for pregnant and postpartum women, children up to age 5, and their families.
· San Juan Island Food Bank - Friday Harbor Food Bank is open on Wednesday and Saturday, 12-2 PM and distributes canned food, eggs, milk, bread, and other commodities, plus seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables
· Free and Reduced School Lunch Program – The San Juan Island School District offers free and reduced meals during the school year to children who income qualify. Contact 360-378-4133 to find out more information.
· 36 Weekends – starting Fall of 2018 providing shelf stable food packages for Friday Harbor Elementary children to take home on the weekends.
Interested in learning more about Nourish to Flourish or helping support the Fresh Bucks or other Food Assistance Programs? Please contact the Health Department at 360-378-4474 or the Family Resource Center 360-378-5246.