The SNAP Stretch program can double or triple families' Pandemic EBT benefits at
Over a quarter million students in West Virginia recently received a new round of Pandemic EBT benefits — providing some relief from inflation and rising food costs. And that money can make an even larger impact on the family budget when combined with the SNAP Stretch program.
For every dollar purchased with a SNAP/EBT card, customers at participating SNAP Stretch farmers markets receive another dollar to spend on locally grown produce. If shoppers are over the age of 60 or are accompanied by a child, they receive an additional $2 for every dollar spent.
“ The timing for this new round of P-EBT benefits couldn’t be better. Kids are heading back to school and our farmers markets are filled with amazing locally grown produce,” Kristin McCartney, WVU Extension assistant professor and Public Health Specialist, said.
SNAP Stretch is a collaboration between the WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program and the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition. The program is available at dozens of farmers markets and farm stands across West Virginia.
An estimated 255,000 children in West Virginia will receive a one-time PEBT benefit of $391 per child. Students enrolled in schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program are eligible to receive the benefits. Children under the age of 6 who live in a home that receives SNAP are also eligible.
“This program is the ultimate win-win,” McCartney said. “Families can put more fresh, healthy food on the tables and West Virginia’s farmers get a bigger paycheck. “
The SNAP Stretch is currently funded through multiple, short-terms grants. Spencer Moss, executive director of the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, says this inhibits the program’s success because organizers do not know how much SNAP Stretch money will be available from year to year.
“For the longevity of the program, the state really needs to invest in SNAP Stretch long-term,” Moss said.
Norm Bailey, chief of staff for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, said his agency has tried in recent years to get SNAP Stretch added to the state’s annual budget but has yet to find a champion in the state legislature.
Bailey said providing the program with permanent funding would only boost the state’s agriculture industry.
“It’s such a win-win for the state to match that federal money, so it goes to the producers and not a national grocery chain,” Bailey said.
Visit snapstretch.com to learn more about the program and find a participating market near you.
WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program’s work is supported by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program
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