74K+ Iowans used Double Up Food Bucks in 2020
Amerigroup Foundation pledges $100,000 to support program in 2021
More food insecure Iowans utilized the Double Up Food Bucks program to access free fruits and vegetables in 2020 than in any year before. Data collected from participating sites, as of Dec. 20, show that 74,217 Iowans benefited from the healthy food incentive program so far this year – that’s 25 percent of all SNAP participants in the state.
Double Up Food Bucks allows SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) customers to match purchases made with their EBT card, up to $10 per day, with Double Up Food Bucks which can be spent on fresh produce.
RELATED: How Double Up Food Bucks works
“In a year with unprecedented challenges and increased food insecurity, Double Up Food Bucks helped low-income Iowans eat more fruits and vegetables,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. “Nutritious food is fundamental to overall wellbeing and is something all Iowans deserve access to.”
The Double Up Food Bucks program, administered by the Healthiest State Initiative in Iowa since 2016, expanded in 2020 to include 100+ new sites, including all Fareway grocery stores, select Hy-Vee stores, plus additional food co-ops and farmers markets. This expansion was made possible in part by funding from the CARES Act.
MAP: See all participating Double Up Food Bucks sites
The increased number of sites has led to a tremendous increase in Double Up Food Bucks participation: So far in 2020, nearly $989,000 in Double Up Food Bucks have been used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, a 540 percent increase over redemption in 2019.
DOUBLE UP FOOD BUCKS BY THE NUMBERS:
| ||2019 ||2020 ||% CHANGE |
|Double Up Food Bucks EARNED ||$340,524 ||$1,877,643 ||+451% |
|Double Up Food Bucks SPENT ||$154,236 ||$987,798 ||+540% |
|Individuals Benefited ||11,597 ||74,217 ||+540% |
Additional support will be required to sustain the current expanded operations of the program statewide. The Amerigroup Foundation announced earlier this month it would award $100,000 to Double Up Food Bucks in 2021.
“We know food insecurity is directly linked to the whole health of individuals, families and communities and that’s why we’ve supported Double Up Food Bucks to fight hunger and improve the health of our community,” said Jeffrey Jones, plan president, Amerigroup Iowa. “Amerigroup remains committed to addressing the evolving needs of our members while making a positive difference. Amerigroup Iowa continues to engage alongside organizations and other partners as a leading champion for direct community action and food relief initiatives.”
RELATED: See all of Double Up Food Bucks' partners
Double Up Food Bucks is funded through a a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funds are then matched with private contributions. Double Up Food Bucks is sponsored statewide by Amerigroup, Alliant Energy, Bank of America, ITC Midwest, Iowa Total Care and United Healthcare, as well as the regional support of local partners.
In January 2021, Double Up Food Bucks will operate an earn and redeem model at all participating sites from 2020. However, in the upcoming year, currency will expire on a quarterly basis.