FORT SMITH (KFSM) — One local grocery store is making it easier for people using SNAP benefits to get their hands on fresh, locally grown produce.
Employees at Harps on Grand Avenue are teaming with several other organizations for a new pilot program to help make healthy eating more affordable. The new program is called “Double Up Food Bucks” which will help people in the community buy produce.
The store on Grand Avenue is the only one participating in the new pilot program.
Organizations teamed with Harps include the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, Arkansas Department of Human Services and the administrative agency for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as the Arkansas River Valley Regional Food Bank.
The goal of this program is to get customers to eat healthier, but also doubles food stamp dollars. For instance, someone who spends $20 on fruits and vegetables will pay 10 food stamp dollars.
Statistics reveal families on average get $112 worth of food stamps each month. Organizers behind the pilot program said they want to see that money maximized.
“We’re able to help the community in this way to really give people that healthier eating option,” said Mike Roberts, produce merchandiser at Harps Food Store.
In the produce section, signs are posted to notify customers about the fruits and vegetables applied to this program.
The program end March 15th. Organizers said that if this is successful, they plan to implement the program in more stores statewide.