The Mid-America Regional Council has been awarded a four-year federal grant of $4.05 million by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to support the Double Up Food Bucks Heartland Program in Kansas and western Missouri. To secure the award, equal matching resources have been provided by local and regional funders including the Kansas Health Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, Health Forward Foundation, Blue KC, the Hall Family Foundation, the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, the Sosland Foundation and the William T. Kemper Foundation.
The new $8.1 million public and private funding will provide continued support for the Double Up Food Bucks program, which has provided healthy food incentives to SNAP recipients in Kansas and Missouri since 2015. The funding will allow the program to continue to serve Kansas and western Missouri locations, and to expand to additional farmers markets and grocery stores. The incentive program will be available at more than 70 grocery stores and farmers markets in 32 counties over the next four years.
Under Double Up, for every dollar in SNAP benefits customers spend on fresh produce, they receive a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $25 a day, that can be spent on more produce at the same site. Since the start of the program, SNAP users have redeemed nearly $2.5 million of Double Up Food Bucks incentives. Because SNAP customers are able to afford more fruits and vegetables using the program, they report that they eat more fresh produce and are eating less unhealthy food as a result.
The Double Up Food Bucks program is administered by the Double Up Heartland Collaborative, which is made up of partnering organizations that recruit and coordinate with participating markets and stores, promote the program and gather information about the impact the incentives have on SNAP recipients, vendors and growers in Kansas and Missouri. The Double Up Heartland Collaborative partners include the Mid-America Regional Council, Kansas State Research and Extension, Cultivate KC, West Central Community Action Agency, YMCA of Wichita and the University of Kansas Medical Center, which will evaluate the program. The Mid-America Regional Council will provide overall administration, financial management and reporting, coordination of communications promoting the program and work with participating grocery stores.
More information is available online at www.DoubleUpHeartland.org.