Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the modern “food stamps” program. SNAP provides financial support to in-need people with their food budget. Typically, many of the people on SNAP are supporting families, and many of them are working. When the old food stamp vouchers went away in 2002 in favor of a debit card, farmers markets across the country suddenly were out of the food stamp business. Consequently, the best avenue for healthy produce for in-need families closed. Even today, only a little more than 60% of farmers markets across the country accept SNAP.
In Spartanburg County, there are about 43,000 SNAP users, accounting for $61,000,000 a year in SNAP money. The average benefit breaks down to $1.31/person/meal. In 2013, direct farm and farmers’ markets sales accounted for only $11,000 of the SNAP spent in Spartanburg. We recognize an economic and a public health need to connect farmers and SNAP users, and have worked relentlessly to expand the use of SNAP at our markets. To help increase SNAP use at our markets, we work with the United Way of the Piedmont for a “Double SNAP” program, and with the Department of Social Services for a “Healthy Bucks” program. Both of these programs greatly increase a SNAP family’s food-buying power.
In 2017, HCFM’s Double-SNAP program helped put $43,000 in healthy, local food on tables for low-income families. This $43,000 went directly to our local farmers and vendors, helping to build small businesses.
Please consider donating to support this program.