'SNAP at the Market' aims to make farmers' markets more accessib - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'SNAP at the Market' aims to make farmers' markets more accessible

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

There's a homegrown effort for area farmers' markets to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as a form of payment. 

Prior to this initiative, only a couple out of nearly 200 vendors accepted SNAP at the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers' Market. 

When 'SNAP at the Market' started last year, that number went up to 16 vendors.  Their hope is to continue that growth, in order to make the market more accessible to everyone. 

Horizons is one of the agencies behind the program.  And the Director of Community Health and Nutrition at Horizons remembers a time when she, too, relied on SNAP. 

"It became a really frustrating process for me walking through the market of about 200 vendors, holding the hands of small children, and trying to find those who would accept my form of income," Sofia Mehaffey says. 

SNAP can be used on things like meat, produce and dairy. 

The process is simple.  Those who wish to pay with SNAP will need to visit the SNAP tent at the market, which is near the corner of 2nd Avenue and 3rd Street. 

"They'll swipe their EBT card or their SNAP card, and we'll give them tokens for 'SNAP at the Market' in the amount that they have asked us to swipe the card for," Mehaffey says. 

Thanks to a grant, those paying with SNAP can also get "double-up food bucks," which will match up to $10 each market to use towards fresh produce. 

More than half of Cedar Rapids' students qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year, so the hope is 'SNAP at the Market' can help fill that summertime void. 

If you are a vendor who wants to start accepting SNAP, you can contact Horizons at 319-398-3943. 

'SNAP at the Market' is also going on at the Hiawatha Farmers' Market. 

    
    

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