Food Works kicks off campaign for SNAP & Link coupons at farmers markets
Food Works has launched a fund-raising campaign for the SNAP & Link Match Double Coupon Program to help low income families access fresh, healthy foods at Southern Illinois farmers markets.
Shawnee Health Services has kick-started the effort with a commitment to match the first $1,000 of donations from the community in the month of May.
The SNAP & Link Match double coupon program allows customers to use their LINK card to purchase food at the farmers market and provides matching coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables.
For every $1 a customer spends with their LINK card, they also receive a $1 Link Match coupon that can be used at any Illinois farmers market that participates in the program.
Customers can get up to $25 worth of free fruits and vegetables each week.
“This program is so good for our community because it helps food insecure folks among us to access healthful, nourishing foods and it also supports our local economy,” said Jennifer Paulson, executive director of Food Works.
“SNAP recipients double their purchasing power at the farmers market, and when they spend those food dollars with local farmers, bakers and other small food businesses, they are supporting other local families too.”
This year, Food Works hopes to support the program at four markets in Jackson and Franklin counties if it can raise enough funds.
The Benton Farmers Market will offer the program for the third year this summer, and there are plans to expand the program to two new markets: the Humpday Farmers Market on Wednesdays in Carbondale and the West Frankfort Farmers Market.
From December through March, the Community Farmers Market in Carbondale also offers the program, giving families in need year-round access to fresh and healthy foods produced in Southern Illinois.
The ability of Food Works to support these new markets is dependent on the success of the fund-raising campaign, organizers said.
“The coronavirus forced us to cancel two spring fund-raisers and has changed the grant funding landscape,” Paulson said.
“At the same time, we’re expecting an increase in demand across the board as many more families are qualifying for SNAP due to economic hardships.”
Members of the community are invited to help. Donations can be made online at www.fwsoil.org/donate-to-snap--link-match or by sending a check made out to Food Works to PO Box 3855, Carbondale, Ill. 62902.
Food Works is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which is dedicated to creating a sustainable food economy in Southern Illinois.
Through farmer training and consumer education, Food Works promotes long-term farming networks that create healthy soils, healthy food, and healthy communities in the 23 counties that make up Southern Illinois.
More can be found on the Food Works website at www.fwsoil.org.