Event celebrates Town & Country Supermarkets offering Double Up Food Bucks

On Wednesday, May 18, about two dozen people gathered at the Country Mart grocery store in Salem, Missouri, to learn about the Double Up Food Bucks incentive program and celebrate the program becoming part of the Town and County Supermarkets system in southern Missouri. The Double Up Food Bucks program helps SNAP users stretch their food dollars when purchasing fresh produce.

The event included speakers from the Town & Country Supermarket management team; Ron Copeland, Missouri state representative in District 143; Greg Parker, mayor of Salem; Dr. Suzanne Stluka, deputy director of the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition (USDA); and Jo Britt-Rankin, director for nutrition, MU Extension. Representatives from area health departments and social service agencies also attended.

“Food insecurity is a big deal in our town. This county is 15 to 20% SNAP users. We serve 29 Missouri communities and have over 100,000 people in those communities that are food insecure. For them to be able to go into their local store, use their SNAP card and walk out with a healthy alternative is a pretty good deal,” said Joe Polizzi, president and CEO, Town and Country Supermarkets.

Similarly, Rep. Copeland said, “I feel this program will provide healthy options that [shoppers] didn’t have before because they were on a limited budget.”

The program was praised by Dr. Stluka, who said, “We also see [nutrition security] as ensuring racial justice, equity, rebuilding the rural economy and addressing impacts of things like climate change, open markets, fair trade and the workforce. Nutrition security is about access to important foods and products for health and well-being and to prevent chronic diseases.”

Learn more about Double Up Food Bucks at www.doubleupheartland.org.