Welfare recipients in Oklahoma can now double the value of up to $20 of benefits a day by purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services announced details of the program on Tuesday for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. A pilot program launched in Tulsa a few years ago expanded statewide last week.
"Let's say they purchased $10 in SNAP that day, they ... would get a free $10, basically, in double-up tokens to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables," said Double Up Oklahoma Coordinator Casey Moore. "They don't necessarily have to use them that day. They could use them at another time."
Designed to encourage SNAP recipients to eat healthier, the Double Up Oklahoma program is funded with grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"It also helps to get a little more money into the actual farmers' hands at the farmers markets," Moore said.
Local farmers markets participating in the program include those in Guthrie, Muskogee, Oklahoma City, Okmulgee, Norman and Tulsa. Before shopping, people receiving SNAP benefits take their cards to the markets' information booths, and their spending on Oklahoma-grown fruits and vegetables is matched up to $20.
DHS reports an average of nearly 615,000 Oklahomans received SNAP benefits last year, mostly children, seniors and the disabled.