Seattle is tripling the number of customers enrolled in the Fresh Bucks Program

Dec 16 2019, 7:57 pm

While the Trump Administration cuts funding to food-security programs, Mayor Durkan is working hard to ensure that Seattlites stay fed through Seattle’s Fresh Bucks Program.

The Fresh Bucks program is the city’s way of getting more fruits and vegetables into the fridges of low-income families. Funded by Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax, there are currently 2,000 customers enrolled who receive $40 in food vouchers each month that can be used to buy fruits and vegetables at participating retailers.

After news of the Trump administration removing 3.7 million people from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, city council has approved a $2 million funding budget for 2020 and will be tripling the number of customers enrolled in the coming year to 6,000.

“We know that we are able to serve only a fraction of the need out there in the community,” said Jessica Finn Coven, Director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. “In 2019, we enrolled 2,000 customers in Fresh Bucks Vouchers during our enrollment period, and over 3,600 customers were added to a waitlist. The newly approved budget expands access to healthy food at a critical time for families.”

In Seattle alone, SNAP helps nearly 11% of the city’s population, around 77,000 residents.

“As the federal government refuses to help our most vulnerable communities, Seattle is stepping up to ensure our working families can access the healthy, affordable food they need,” said Mayor Durkan. “Food insecurity disproportionately impacts communities of color and immigrants and refugees, and the Trump administration’s work to dismantle SNAP will undoubtedly exacerbate existing inequities in our country. Tripling the size of Fresh Bucks is an important step, but ultimately, we need the federal government to abandon their arbitrary and cruel changes to SNAP, and actually help working families put food on the table.”

Those looking to apply to the Fresh Bucks Program can put their name into a public lottery application, available March 2 to March 31, 2020. Seattle residents can apply online or over the phone.

Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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