Friday, 15 November 2013 12:42
Market Collecting Donations For Local Food Pantries
SARATOGA SPRINGS – In an effort to help local individuals and families struggling with food insecurity, and to help counteract recent cutbacks in federal food assistance programs, Saratoga Farmers’ Market will collect food donations every week for local food pantries beginning on Saturday, November 16. The Saturday market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. now through April at the Lincoln Baths building in Saratoga Spa State Park, 65 South Broadway. Beginning this weekend, customers are invited to bring donations of canned and dry goods to drop off, or purchase and donate non-perishable items at the market. The market will deliver the weekly donations to a different area food pantry each month, beginning with Franklin Community Center for the month of November. The market will announce subsequent food pantries to receive donations each month. In addition to delivering the food donations to area pantries, the market will work with pantry staff to help educate food recipients who may be unaware that their SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) and WIC checks can be used at the market for the purchase of fresh food. Public Assistance Programs Accepted at Saratoga Farmers’ Market Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Any person with an electronic benefits (EBT) swipe card through the SNAP program can purchase EBT tokens at the market’s main information table, where debit and credit card transactions are also processed. The EBT tokens can be used for any food stamp/SNAP-eligible food item including produce, meat, cheese, dairy, baked goods wrapped for home consumption, jelly, honey, and more. (Non-food items, food meant to be eaten on-site and hot foods cannot be purchased with EBT tokens.) As an additional SNAP benefit for a few more weeks, a $2 “Fresh Connect” Coupon will be provided for every $5 increment of SNAP tokens purchased. The coupon may be used for the same items as the SNAP program allows through November 30. Women, Infants & Children (WIC) WIC recipients can use their monthly WIC vegetable and fruit checks (issued year-round) at designated WIC vendors in the market. In addition, through November 30, the extra seasonal coupons issued by WIC as part of the “Farmers Market Nutrition Program” (FMNP) can also be used for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. These FMNP coupons can be used at any participating produce vendor with an FMNP sign. Seniors FMNP There is a seasonal program helping lower-income seniors with the purchase of fresh produce through Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) coupons. These coupons will be accepted through November 30 on fresh produce purchases, as well as at participating vendors with an FMNP sign.