Double Up Food Bucks NY Launches at ACME Markets Making Fresh Produce More Affordable

Double Up Food Bucks NY Launches at ACME Markets Making Fresh Produce More Affordable

Field & Fork Network is pleased to announce the launch of Double Up Food Bucks NY at ACME Markets at 660 McLean Ave, Yonkers, NY 10704. This is the first grocery store to offer Double Up Food Bucks NY in Westchester County.

Double Up Food Bucks NY, a nutrition incentive program, increases food security and improves nutrition security by offering SNAP shoppers a $1 for $1 match on purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables, up to $5 per day at this and other large grocery locations. Field & Fork Network worked closely with Westchester County, The City of Yonkers, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and Feeding Westchester to identify a retail store location that would have the greatest benefit for residents. These partnerships have been integral to ensuring the availability and impact of the program.

ACME Markets presented an opportunity to enhance fresh produce accessibility for local residents with the implementation of an innovative solution for offering Double Up Food Bucks at the store. SNAP shoppers will now automatically receive a $5 Double Up Food Bucks coupon every time they purchase at least $5.00 of fresh fruits and vegetables with their EBT card (electronic benefits transfer, where SNAP funds are stored). This automated solution makes the program accessible for all SNAP shoppers, reducing barriers and increasing the overall equity and reach of the program to help benefit more members of the community. To receive the automated coupon, shoppers must simply have an ACME Markets loyalty card and use SNAP benefits at the register when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We are thrilled to be working with ACME Markets to bring Double Up Food Bucks to the Yonkers community. By having our program available in grocery stores, we are able to reach many more SNAP shoppers, making healthy foods more affordable and accessible,” said Lisa French, Co-Founder and CEO of Field & Fork Network.

“ACME is honored to amplify this program in our stores,” states Dana Ward, Director of Communications & Public Affairs for the Mid-Atlantic Division. “Double Up Food Bucks allows us to better service our customers and honor their healthy purchases. We are grateful for our partnership with Field and Fork for allowing us to help make healthy foods more affordable.”

NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Ensuring access to nutritious food is a cornerstone of building thriving communities. I am proud that Double Up Food Bucks NY, our statewide incentive program, is working to address food insecurity in Westchester. By providing affordable, fresh produce through innovative solutions, we empower individuals and families to make healthier choices. This initiative underscores our commitment to ensuring all New Yorkers have access to nutritious options, laying the groundwork for a stronger, more resilient community.”

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow said, “Access to nutritious food is not just a basic necessity; it’s a fundamental right. By prioritizing initiatives that ensure every New Yorker has access to healthy meals, we not only alleviate immediate hunger but also lay the foundation for a stronger, more resilient community. I am pleased to hear that Double Up Food Bucks NY is taking on the challenge to assist in closing the food insecurity gap within our state.”

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Acting Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said, “The Double Up Food Bucks program expands the purchasing power of SNAP recipients, enabling them to purchase more healthy, fresh produce for themselves and their families, while also supporting local economies and farms. We are grateful for our growing partnership with Field & Fork Network, which supports our core mission to help New Yorkers meet their essential needs and strengthens Governor Hochul’s work to expand access to affordable, nutritious, locally grown food in underserved communities across the state.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “We want to make sure that no one in Westchester goes hungry. And with food cost inflation and the end of enhanced COVID help for SNAP recipients, it’s important that we help those in need with access to fresh healthy food to feed their families. I want to thank our state and federal partners for funding this program and Field & Fork Network and ACME Markets for bringing it to Westchester County, and I hope we’ll be able to expand it to more markets in Westchester to provide the help that people need.”

Mayor of Yonkers, Mike Spano, said “Food insecurity was brought to the forefront during the pandemic. As we continue to navigate beyond it, the need to access healthy meals and fresh produce remains a top priority for many of our local families. Double Up Food Bucks is an incentive for SNAP shoppers to be able to provide for their families and I’m thrilled the pilot program started here in Yonkers. It’s critical we support our families with basic needs to improve their quality of life.”

Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam, said, “Double Up Food Bucks is an invaluable resource for our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet and want to provide nutritious food for their families, and we are proud to partner with Field & Fork Network and ACME Markets on this critical program.”

Monique Marshall MS, RDN, CD-N, Manager, Nutrition Resource at Feeding Westchester said, “Feeding Westchester is proud to partner with Field & Fork, Westchester County, The City of Yonkers and the United Way of Westchester and Putnam County to introduce Double Up Food Bucks New York in our County. 1 in 3 Westchester households are at risk of hunger and this initiative responds to the critical need, especially in providing access to healthy necessities like fresh fruits and vegetables. Despite the essential support offered by SNAP, the benefits often do not fully cover the nutritional needs of families. Feeding Westchester advocates for an increased minimum SNAP benefit and Double Up Food Bucks will increase the spending power of those benefits.”

“Benefits programs like Double Up Food Bucks are a true two-for-one deal: they reduce hunger and improve health,” said Julia McCarthy, Senior Program Officer at the New York Health Foundation. “We are thrilled to support Field & Fork Network’s efforts to expand Double Up Food Bucks to reach more New Yorkers with food benefits that are convenient to use.”

How the Program Works:

  • When customers spend $5 or more on fresh produce using their SNAP card, they will receive a $5 dollar coupon that can be redeemed for any eligible Double Up Food Bucks eligible item (fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables).
  • Coupons are printed at the bottom of the receipt.
  • Customers can earn up to $5/day at this location. Coupons may be saved over multiple purchases to use on future transactions.
  • Customers must have an ACME Market loyalty account to participate.
    Double Up Food Bucks coupons expire after 60 days, allowing the program to work flexibly and meet individual needs.

ACME Markets is located at 660 McLean Ave in Yonkers, NY. The store is open Monday-Sunday from 6am-11pm.

Fighting hunger, high prices amid SNAP benefit decrease

Fighting hunger, high prices amid SNAP benefit decrease

Inflation has been hitting wallets hard, especially when it comes to food. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Americans are spending nearly 12 percent more on food each month than they were a year ago. According to federal labor data, grocery inflation picked up in January even as prices in the U.S. fell in other industries from the previous month. 

For the 2.8 million New Yorkers who rely on federal assistance, things are about to go from bad to worse. Starting in March, every household that receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits will begin to receive at least $95 less a month. Household size and income may result in an even larger decrease with some families receiving nearly $300 less per month. 

The change comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s temporary SNAP Emergency Allotment benefits — provided since early on during the pandemic to address food insecurity — expire at the end of the February.  In just a few days, eligible households will only receive regular monthly SNAP benefits. 

“That is a pretty serious hit to the family budget,” said Molly Nicol, CEO, Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, who anticipates a dramatic increase in the number of neighbors seeking food assistance as the emergency allotments end. 

Roughy 1.8 million New Yorkers are facing hunger — an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity, as defined by the USDA. Nearly 600,000 are children, according to Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million Americans.

During the pandemic, the Regional Food Bank saw a large increase in those seeking help. It went from distributing 38 million pounds of food per year pre-COVID to 55.8 million pounds of food at the height of the pandemic. The food bank is now at about 50 million pounds per year.

“This means that hard working folks are finding it difficult to feed their families” Nicol said. “Additionally, it means that the Food Bank is also experiencing increased expenses associated with meeting the needs in our 23-county region.”

Food bank CEOs from the Northeast are meeting with USDA representatives in early March to advocate for more food donations and funding for Universal School Meals across the state. They are hoping to convince the federal government to increase SNAP benefits to what they were at the height of the pandemic, Nicol said. 

“The end of SNAP Emergency Allotments will hasten a hunger cliff for many New Yorkers,” said Krista Hesdorfer, MPA, government relations manager for Hunger Solutions New York, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to alleviating hunger in New York. 

This is a federal change, and local social services districts do not have control over it, Hesdorfer said. However, those who do receive SNAP benefits can report any changes — loss of income, increased housing costs, child support payments or allowable medical expenses —  to their local department of social services, which could result in an increase in normal monthly SNAP benefits, she said.

There are also programs available that enhance SNAP benefits, especially when used at farmers markets. Double Up Food Bucks NY, a program of the Field & Fork Network, has become a model for communities across the country. 

The Field & Fork Double Up Food Bucks NY program aims to connect communities throughout the state with sustainable food options by matching EBT or food stamp dollars spent on fruits and vegetables, up to $20 per day. The program provides a $1 to $1 match on SNAP eligible fruit and vegetable purchases at farmers markets, farm stands and select grocers throughout the state, including Honest Weight Food Co-op,  Schenectady Green Market, Can Stop Redemption in Troy, Capital Roots Mobile Markets and West Hill Farmers Market.

“When you couple (the expiration of extended benefits) with the current economic conditions, many low-income families will struggle to fill that gap. Double Up can be a part of the solution and help fill the gap with healthy locally grown produce,” said Lisa French, co-founder and executive director at Field & Fork Network. “Doubling the current $2 million funding to $4 million means the program can provide a critical resource for these families.”

To date, more than $8 million SNAP Double Up dollars have been spent on fresh produce to help alleviate food insecurity. The benefits extend beyond consumers. Purchases support more than 400 farmers who participate in the program. And, roughly $2.8 million SNAP and Double Up dollars have been spent at stores throughout the state.  

In addition to Double Up Food Bucks, there are programs that help New Yorkers put fresh food on the table. Low income seniors and those receiving WIC benefits may be eligible to receive New York State Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs coupons that can be used at participating farmers markets and farm stands. SNAP-to-Market is another program that distributes FreshConnect Checks in addition to the SNAP benefit. For every $5 in SNAP benefits a customer exchanges for wooden tokens, the manager may issue a $2 FreshConnect Check to be used on any SNAP eligible food item.

Niagara Falls City Market, now accepting SNAP, needs an Outreach & EBT Coordinator

Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan moving forward through Economic Development project that provides workforce opportunities and affordable food access to low-income families.

 

In an effort to make the local food system a more equitable place for all, Niagara Falls’ central and year-round market is finally going to begin accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), also known as food stamps or EBT. Healthy Food Healthy People of Niagara Falls along with the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative, have partnered with the Niagara Falls City Market to make it happen. In order to ensure the successful implementation and use of the benefit program, we are looking for a Community Outreach and Market EBT Coordinator. This person will not only manage the enrollment and acceptance of SNAP customers at the market, but is also a critical touchpoint in partnering with community members to get the word out about the availability of the program at City Market.

The ideal candidate should have a passion for social and community justice, be personable and approachable, and flexible as this is a temporary and part-time role. For more information and to submit an application please read the description here.

If you have any questions, reach out to Tom Lowe, Project Director, at Tlowe@fieldandforknetwork.com.