Georgia Fresh For Less Makes SNAP Increase Go Further - Wholesome Wave Georgia Skip to main content

Georgia Fresh For Less Makes SNAP Increase Go Further

Cherease Kincaid with the Farm Truck 912

Surprises sometimes come in big packages. The USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increased benefits by 25% starting on October 1, 2021. This increase is the largest in program history, on the heels of a global pandemic that shut down our economy and left many people without food.

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a difficult toll on many Georgia households. Job losses and the illness itself has enhanced food insecurity, including causing many to wonder for the first time how they would feed their families.

Cherease Kincaid and her daughter.

Cherease Kincaid, a single mom with two teen sons and a preteen daughter, reflects, “I had no idea how difficult things would become and COVID certainly didn’t help matters. Feeding everyone was at the top of my list,” and SNAP benefits brought relief.

Melanie Pineda agrees about the importance of adequate food. As a participant at the Woodstock Farm Fresh Market, she observes “My goal is to eat fresh food and grow my own food as well.”

Wholesome Wave Georgia’s Georgia Fresh for Less program is ready to make the new increase even better, by doubling the value of SNAP for neighbors in need who swipes their EBT card for produce at WWG partner farms and farmers markets. That 25% increase will feel like a 50% increase.

Cherease bowled over when she learned about Georgia Fresh for Less. She took a job at the Forsyth Farmers Market as the Coordinator for Farm Truck 912 and quickly learned that Georgia Fresh for Less allows her to purchase $2 worth of farm fresh produce for every $1 she spends using EBT. “Now our home stays stocked with much healthier foods.”

Melanie’s young daughter suffers from food allergies to gluten, dairy, and even some vegetables. Reducing the number of pesticides on their food and eating whole, fresh vegetables and fruit helps her body stay healthy. Georgia Fresh for Less has made the organic produce Melanie finds at the Trefoil Gardens booth at the farmers market affordable.

Delicious fresh vegetables and fruit are critical to staying well from viruses like COVID as well as avoiding other health issues such as digestive ailments, Type 2 Diabetes, and heart disease. Cherease is especially impressed with programs like Georgia Fresh for Less and Farm Truck 912. “There is more to it than just sitting back and talking about the problems. You have to take action to resolve those problems. [Georgia Fresh for Less] is opening a door for families to afford to feed their families more fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Farm Truck 912 takes produce that is offered at the Forsyth Farmers Market on Saturdays and delivers it to people who lack transportation or other barriers to going. “Access to these foods” is Cherease’s top priority. “Together we make a difference!”

Local farms that sell their items at farmers markets make a meaningful impact on the surrounding communities. Feeding their neighbors builds positive, friendly relationships while supporting the farm financially. The farms also improve the soil and the environment.

“The carbon footprint that you put out in the world matters just as much as your health and the health of your family,” Melanie explains. “Food and diet in general is just such a huge part of staying healthy not just physically, but also mentally. It’s all connected.”

Cherease exudes enthusiasm for her work. “I am honored to be a part of Forsyth Farmers Market as the Farm Truck 912 Coordinator and family/community advocate for WWG by promoting eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, spending less and getting more, and continuing to educate families to what is available to them through accessing these resources.”

By Mary Virginia Coffman, MSW, CNS, LDN

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