alternative press serving the lower columbia pacific region

North Coast Food Web weaves up a new food security program

North Coast food web

from the North Coast Food Web sie

NORTH COAST Food Web is working a new angle to get healthy food on the table. River People Farmers Market, the flagship program of the Food Web has accepted Oregon Trails Cards from SNAP, (the program formally known as food stamps), WIC and Senior Nutrition vouchers since they opened in June, and now Starting August 11 River People shoppers will find their money going farther with the SNAP Match program.  Using funds from a small matching grant put forth by the Astoria Cooperative, SNAP shoppers will be able to spend up to $10 more per week, per Oregon Trails card, on food. Thanks to the grant 10 SNAP dollars will now translate into 20 River People Dollars.

Just how far will that money go?  Here’s an example of what $20 can buy at the River People Farmers Market: a dozen free-range nutrient-dense eggs, a loaf of whole grain bread, 3 big bunches of dark leafy greens, and some beautiful vitamin C rich berries. And That can create 2-3 fabulous breakfasts for a family of four.  The positive impact continues when the vendors spend the money they receive locally, increasing prosperity for our entire community.

One small step for community food security.  Adds up to a giant leap for the local economy.

What if you could bring over $4 million dollars into the economy of Clatsop County. Would you do it? According to Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, who work in conjunction with Oregon Food Bank, approximately 3,100 people eligible for SNAP in Clatsop County are not taking advantage of the opportunity. If qualified community members would sign up, the annual value of the increased participation would translate to $4,430,324 more federal dollars in the local economy.  The Food Web’s SNAP Match program is starting with only $500, which may seem like a drop in the bucket, however, when you consider the possible effects of the in-tandem sign-up outreach efforts, the impact could be huge.  If you are eligible for food assistance and sign up, you can help bring $4,000,000 to Clatsop County.

The current state of the economy is having far reaching impact on nutrition, that has food security organizations concerned. According to state estimates 1 in 4 residents of Clatsop County are eligible for food assistance, with over 50% of county children under age 18 eligible. Many seniors are also going without the food they need to be healthy. Who is eligible? You may be surprised. An individual making under $1,600 can qualify for food assistance. ($3,446 – for a family of 4) Assets like a house, car or money in the bank do not count against most people. The Food Web mission is to create a strong local food economy, and they would love to see those millions claimed and spent on nutritious local food.  Hence the SNAP Match and outreach programs.

Kristin Frost Albrecht, from OSU Family Community Health program states, “There doesn’t need to be any shame in signing up for an Oregon Trails card. By taking advantage of these federal dollars, you help not only your household, you help improve the economy of your entire community.”

The hope of the SNAP Match program is to feed more local calories to area residents, and the hope of the outreach effort is to improve community access to the information needed to facilitate those local meals. Individuals or organizations interested in contributing to the SNAP Match program fund can contact the North Coast Food Web at the OSU Extension office by calling 503.325.8573. Ask for Kristin at Family Community Health.

OSU Extension and the CCA Regional Food Bank will at the River People Market to promote the SNAP program.  Application will be available on site. You can even sign up on line at: www.oregonsafenet.org.  Or look to www.oregonhelps.org  for info on SNAP, housing, health insurance, tax credits and cash assistance for families with children.

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