Food Assistance Program Hits One Million Dollar Mark

Statewide, Iowa — A state program that helps those on food assistance eat healthier has crossed the one-million-dollar mark in benefits given.

Coordinator Aryn McClaren says the program gives what is called “Double Up Bucks” to those on food assistance when they purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

(as said) “The ‘Double Up Food Bucks’ earned can be used during the next shopping visit to buy additional fresh fruits and vegetables.”

McClaren then continues by talking about the program’s two goals for individuals.

(as said) “To encourage people to make the healthy choice of eating fresh food and vegetables, while also trying to make that an easier choice,” McClaren says. “If they are food insecure and have a limited budget they can’t always afford the food that might be healthier for their families.”

The program was given an added boost in finances when federal coronavirus money was approved from the state.

(as said) “So, we are very fortunate to receive that funding that has helped support the expansion of the program,” McClaren says.

McClaren says the program has seen its biggest growth this year as the need has grown, which includes more use at farmers’ markets.

(as said) “We are very proud of the growth that we’ve seen at farmers’ markets this year, and the fact that we are seeing that, the majority of the farmer’s markets, are seeing up to four times the amount of ‘Double Up Food Bucks’ going into them.”

Under the program, a person who spends 10 dollars in food assistance benefits at a participating site receives an additional 10 dollars in free Double Up Food Bucks. The food bucks come in the form of paper vouchers and McClaren says they are working on an electronic program for the food bucks.



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