How Double Up Food Bucks fights food insecurity with fruits and vegetables
Access to nutritious food is necessary for Iowans to be happy, healthy and productive. Yet due to the impacts of COVID-19, hundreds of thousands of Iowans do not know where they will get their next meal.
Across the nation, millions of Americans are newly facing food insecurity alongside those who were experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic began. Food insecurity in Iowa went from from 7 percent in February to 18.7 percent in August, according to the Food Bank of Iowa. That means nearly 600,000 Iowans did not have enough food to live an active, healthy life.
According to a new report from Feeding America, Iowa's overall child food insecurity rate for 2020 was 20 percent. Studies show links between food insecurity and poor child health and behavioral outcomes: Food insecure children are at greater risk for stunted development, anemia, asthma, oral health problems and lower test scores in school. Food insecure children are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems including hyperactivity, aggression and anxiety.
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Double Up Food Bucks helps fight food insecurity and helps food-insecure Iowans eat healthier by allowing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) customers to match purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables made with their EBT card, up to $10 per day, with Double Up Food Bucks which can be spent on more fresh produce.
Food-insecure families should not have to choose between being hungry and being healthy. With programs like Double Up Food Bucks, they do not have to make that choice.
The healthy food incentive program is currently in operation at more than 140 locations across 76 counties in Iowa, including grocery stores, food co-ops and farmers markets. In 2020, more than $1 million in Double Up Food Bucks were earned and redeemed for fruits and vegetables.
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“Double Up Food Bucks is a critical program that allows food-insecure Iowans to stretch their grocery budgets and eat healthier food,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. Double Up Food Bucks was granted CARES Act funds in 2020 to help fight food insecurity caused by the pandemic.
Here's how Double Up Food Bucks fought food insecurity in 2020:
75,334 Iowans benefited from Double Up Food Bucks. That's 25% of all SNAP participants in the state.
$1,001,946 in Double Up Food Bucks were redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables.
92% of participants reported eating more fresh produce due to Double Up Food Bucks.
Double Up Food Bucks is a SNAP-incentive program in Iowa that matches food assistance dollars 1:1 on purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and grocery stores. Learn more and find a participating location near you: DoubleUpIowa.org