West Central Missouri Community Action Agency (West Central) is pleased to announce the launching of the Double-Up Food Bucks program at local farmers markets across the region. Double-Up Food Bucks is a healthy food incentive program that helps low-income families purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables and supports local farmers.

Through this new program, people who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can swipe their EBT cards to buy SNAP tokens, and receive a matching number of Double-Up Food Bucks tokens, up to $25 per day. They may use the SNAP tokens to purchase any SNAP eligible items at the market, and use the Double-Up Food Bucks tokens for any fresh fruits and vegetables. The Double-Up tokens can be used any time before March 2019.

There are currently two farmers markets in the West Central region that are participating in the program: Hickory County Farmers Market in Hermitage (every Friday from 3-6 p.m., May-October) and Cedar County Farmers Market in El Dorado Springs (every Saturday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., March-November). West Central’s goal is to get additional communities involved in the program and is confident there will be additional markets participating in 2017.

The Double-Up Food Bucks program, with more than 40 participating markets in Missouri and Kansas, is funded by $5.8 million in grant funding. Of that total, $2.9 million is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with matching funds of $2.9 million donated by private foundations and local governments. Over the next three years, coalition partners will expand Double-Up to include 68 farmers markets and 117 grocery stores.

Double-Up Heartland Coalition partners include; Mid-America Regional Council (MARC); Cultivate Kansas City; KU Medical Center at The University of Kansas; Kansas Department for Children and Families; Missouri Department of Social Services; USDA; Douglas County, Kansas; the East-West Gateway Council of Governments in St. Louis; and Fair Food Network based in Michigan.

For more information on how to use Double-Up Food Bucks at farmers markets and grocery stores near you and to find participating locations, please go to www.DoubleUpHeartland.org.

When asked what kind of impact West Central hopes to see through the Double-Up Food Bucks program, Chris Thompson, West Central’s President and CEO said, “Missouri is the 7th most food insecure State in the United States despite the incredible work done by our producers to produce the amount of food they produce in Missouri. We can and must do better to make sure healthy, local foods reach all segments of our population. This program helps to do that. We at West Central are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the coalition.”

Anyone with questions about the program or who would like to participate is encouraged to call Katie Nixon at 660-476-2185 Ext. 1303.

West Central Missouri Community Action Agency is dedicated to empowering people to make a positive change by coordinating and administering resources. West Central’s service region includes the counties of Cedar, Vernon, Hickory, St. Clair, Bates, Henry, Benton, Morgan, and Cass. West Central Missouri Community Action Agency strives to be the voice in our communities and our governments for those most in need.

Assistance units within the organization include the following: Community Services, Employment and Training, Energy Conservation, Health Services, Housing, and Early Childhood Education (Headstart).