City officials are calling on local bodega and corner store owners to help offer affordable, fresh fruit and vegetables to Boston’s lower-income individuals.
Mayor Kim Janey on Friday announced that the Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) was awarded a $500,000 grant to help expand Boston Double Up Food Bucks, a SNAP incentive program that slices 50% off of fresh fruit and vegetable purchases up to $10 at participating grocers. SNAP beneficiaries automatically qualify for the program, and can access the discount when paying with an EBT card.
“Everyone deserves access to affordable, nutritious meals,” said Janey said in a press release. “Especially during the pandemic, the health of our residents is paramount. This program helps Boston residents, while also aiding our small businesses. I encourage any eligible store owner interested to apply and take advantage of this opportunity.”
Since its Boston launch in 2018, the program has allowed families with SNAP benefits to buy more healthy foods, helped grocers gain new customers, and kept more food dollars within the local economy, according to officials. The city hopes more small grocers will apply to be part of the program.
If there’s ever been a time that hungry Bostonians need the help, it’s now.
Earlier this year the Boston Food Bank reported a spike in food insecurity across eastern Massachusetts, with a 66% increase in the number of people struggling with access to healthy food. That figure accounts for one in eight people in the Boston area.
The Double Up partnership provides participating stores with technical assistance and program coaching. Local shop owners have reported some positive changes since joining Double Up.
“I have regular customers that always ask for the incentive and see the benefit of eating healthy,” said Juana Martinez of Monumental Meat Market in Dorchester.
Neighborhood grocery stores, bodegas, and corner stores can join the program by completing an online form. Storeowners can direct questions about the program to 617-635-3717 or email [email protected].
In addition to the grant, which was awarded through the USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, the city will also contribute an additional $500,000 in support of Double Up’s expansion. Boston OFA offers various other food programs and initiatives, including Summer Eats, farmers markets, community fridges, and support for urban farming.
The national Double Up Food Bucks program is fueled by Fair Food Network, a national nonprofit that focuses on community health and wealth through nutritious food.
Where Double Up Food Bucks is currently available in Boston
Dorchester: The Daily Table, 450 Washington St. & Monumental Meat Market, 213 Washington St.
East Boston: Delicious Market, 6A Brooks St. & Carniceria & Legumbreria, 9 Meridian St.
Roxbury: Daily Table, 2201 Washington St. & F&T’s Davey’s Supermarket, 438 Dudley St.
Jamaica Plain: Pimentel Market, 340 Centre St.
Mattapan: Aguasvivas Market, 926 Morton St. & Tejeda’s Family Market, 1435 Blue Hill Ave.
About Double Up
Double Up is available in 25 states at more than 900 locations, from farmers to grocery stores, according to the organization. The program was first piloted back in 2009, in Detroit, before expanding across the U.S.
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