Market’s donations to local pantries to include outreach about public assistance program benefits accepted at market
In an effort to help local individuals and families struggling with food insecurity, and to help counteract recent cutbacks in federal food assistance programs, Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association will collect food donations every week during the winter market season.
The Saturday market, open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is held from November through April at the Lincoln Baths building in Saratoga Spa State Park. Beginning this weekend, customers are invited to bring donations of canned and dry goods to drop off at the market, or purchase and donate non-perishable items at the market. The market will deliver the weekly donations to a different area food pantry each month, beginning with Franklin Community Center for the rest of November. The market will announce additional food pantries to receive donations in subsequent months.
“We’re hoping that as people make out their market shopping lists, they will remember to tuck a can of beans or tuna, a box of rice, or jar of peanut butter into their shopping totes, and drop these off as they enter the market,” notes Marcie Place, a market board member who is helping to coordinate deliveries.
In addition to delivering the food donations to area pantries, the market will work with pantry staff to help educate benefit recipients who may be unaware that their SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) and WIC checks can be used at the market for the purchase of fresh food.
Public Assistance Programs Accepted at Saratoga Farmers’ Market
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Any person with an electronic benefits (EBT) swipe card through the SNAP program can purchase EBT tokens at the market’s main information table, where debit and credit card transactions are also processed. The EBT tokens can be used for any food stamp/SNAP-eligible food item including produce, meat, cheese, dairy, baked goods wrapped for home consumption, jelly, honey, and more. (Non-food items, food meant to be eaten on-site, and hot foods cannot be purchased with EBT tokens.)
As an additional SNAP benefit for a few more weeks, a $2 “Fresh Connect” Coupon will be provided for every $5 increment of SNAP tokens purchased. The coupon may be used for the same items as the SNAP program allows, through November 30th.
Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
WIC recipients can use their monthly WIC vegetables and fruit checks (issued year-round) at select designated vendors in the market. Currently, the two vendors accepting WIC checks at the market are Denison Farm and Pleasant Valley Farm.
In addition, through November 30th, the extra seasonal coupons issued by WIC as part of the “Farmers Market Nutrition Program” (FMNP) can also be used for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. These FMNP coupons can be used at any participating produce vendor with an FMNP sign.
There is a seasonal program helping lower-income seniors with the purchase of fresh produce through the Seniors’ Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) coupons, These coupons will be accepted through November 30th on fresh produce purchases.