In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowans facing food insecurity will have access free fruits and vegetables at more than 100 grocery stores statewide in July. This month, 106 Fareway stores, 13 Hy-Vee stores, additional food co-ops and farmers markets are joining the Double Up Food Bucks program.
Double Up Food Bucks received $1 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to fund the grocery sector expansion and add new farmers markets for 2020. This funding was made possible through the leadership of Gov. Kim Reynolds in consultation with the Feeding Iowans Task Force, led by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, to expand access to nutritious food for Iowans in need.
“This is a good investment because Double Up Food Bucks both helps Iowans in need and also helps our specialty crop farmers who tend to sell at farmers markets and have experienced disruptions in their business as well,” said Gregg. “These funds will definitely amplify Iowa’s efforts to address food insecurity during the pandemic.”
The healthy food incentive program allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program customers to match purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables made with their EBT or P-EBT card, up to $10 per day, with Double Up Food Bucks. This additional which can be spent on additional fresh produce.
“Double Up Food Bucks provides a solution to give Iowans access to more healthy food and double their food assistance dollars as we navigate this difficult time together as a state,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative, which administers the program statewide. “Fareway and Hy-Vee both have large footprints across Iowa which will help ensure this program is more widely available.”
Fareway began piloting this program in 14 of its Iowa stores last year. Between May-December 2019, Fareway customers redeemed more than $100,000 in Double Up Food Bucks. Effective July 6, the program is available in all 106 Fareway stores in Iowa, spanning 66 counties.
“We are excited to make Double Up Food Bucks available at all Iowa store locations for the remainder of 2020,” said Reynolds W. Cramer, Fareway president and CEO. “Individuals facing food insecurity need access to fresh fruits and vegetables more than ever before, and we are proud to help provide for Iowans through this program.”
In addition, Hy-Vee piloted the program in a couple of its central Iowa stores last year and will be expanding its program to 13 stores in 2020, effective July 20.
“Hy-Vee is committed to combatting food insecurity and ensuring that our customers have a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from,” said Aaron Wiese, Hy-Vee’s SVP of health and wellness and chief strategy officer. “We are thrilled to expand this program to additional Iowa Hy-Vee stores in 2020 to make people’s lives easier, healthier and happier.”
Double Up Food Bucks is also available at more than 20 farmers markets, farm stands and food co-ops across the state, too. To view a map of all participating sites and learn more about how to use the program, click here.