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CO Program Encourages Purchase of Fruits, Veggies with SNAP Dollars

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020   

PUEBLO, Colo. -- Both farmers and families in the Centennial State have been facing tough times during the pandemic, which is why, this year, Colorado's Double Up Food Bucks program will be available to low-income residents throughout the winter.

When Coloradans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program benefits buy produce with their SNAP card at certain locations, they receive a coupon for the same amount to buy fruits and veggies again.

Marci Cochran, community advocate for Double Up in Pueblo, noted since the pandemic, hunger in Colorado has tripled. She added having the program year-round makes a huge difference for residents.

"So I don't think it's a coincidence at all that 2020 was the year that we were finally able to get an active year-round Double Up Food Bucks program going in Pueblo County, and it has been incredibly well-received," Cochran explained.

Double Up Food Bucks was initially launched at farmers markets, many of which close for the winter.

Cochran noted people in her community are relieved it's not disappearing in Pueblo for eight or nine months of the year.

Samuel Jonas, CEO of Snap2Save, which developed the app used to facilitate the program at participating Save-A-Lot locations, said the vouchers provide access to healthy foods despite the expense, while also driving more business for local Colorado farmers and vendors.

Jonas stressed it's particularly crucial in food deserts, where transportation can often be a limiting factor.

"Neighborhoods that the majors have abandoned, have pulled out of the neighborhood, left an empty grocery store," Jonas outlined. "The Save-a-Lot licensee we work with specializes in going in and rehabilitating that grocery store and bringing fresh food into that neighborhood."

One Colorado grocery store had a 37% increase in produce as a share of SNAP food baskets in the four months since it began using the program.

Information on participating locations can be found at doubleupcolorado.org.


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