by Sandra LeDuc
More Seattle families have access to fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to an expansion of the City of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program. The city just added $ 1.3 million for the program to the newly approved city budget for 2021, which will allow 3,100 people currently on Fresh Bucks’ waiting list to enroll to receive vouchers from December and through To continue in 2021.
Fresh Bucks customers receive $ 40 monthly benefits for purchases of fruits and vegetables from participating Seattle Farmers Markets, neighborhood grocery stores, and Seattle Safeway stores. The expansion of the program will serve 12,100 Seattle households in addition to the city’s emergency grocery voucher program, which has supported 14,000 households.
A report from Seattle-King County Public Health showed that food insecurity in Seattle nearly doubled during the pandemic. Almost one in ten families said they did not have enough to eat or could not afford to buy more groceries. Households with children are more likely to be food insecure, and the Latinx, Black, and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander populations are disproportionately represented among King Counties seeking food aid.
“We’re not through this pandemic yet. Difficulties such as the food insecurity caused by COVID-19 continue to affect many families in Seattle, especially those of the same color, “said Jenny Durkan, Seattle Mayoress. “If we increase our support for Fresh Bucks, families can afford healthy food during these troubled times. Investing in programs like Fresh Bucks helps families with much-needed food while investing in our economy through partnerships with local grocery stores and farmers markets. “
This year, the city of Seattle served over 1,000,000 meals to shelters, seniors, and young people as part of its nutritional programs. As part of its pandemic response, the city launched an emergency grocery voucher program in March to provide immediate food assistance to families at risk of starvation due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the program started, the city has provided emergency food vouchers to over 14,000 eligible households. The program identified eligible households through existing city programs and in partnership with community-level organizations to reach communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration for the program is closed.
“Addressing food insecurity has been one of my top priorities. Our city should do everything in its power to resolve food insecurity and improve access to fresh food, said Dan Strauss, Councilor of Seattle. “This expanded funding almost clears the waiting list and complements the work I am leading to support farmers’ markets, which are another important pillar of our infrastructure for access to fresh food.”
Families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can also visit the Mayor’s COVID-19 community resources page for details on additional food security programs and services, including an interactive Food Resource Map on the Location of food banks, free meals and students is given. Make pickups.
Sandra LeDuc is a writer and editor based in South Seattle.
Featured image: Fresh apricots and snow peas on the Tilth Alliance farm in Rainier Beach, Seattle (Photo: Carolyn Bick)
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