NYS Makes More Than $350,000 Available to Help Low-Income Families & Vets Access Healthy Foods

Program available at Ted Stroebele Center in Monticello.

NEW YORK STATE (July 15, 2015) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that more than $350,000 is available to help low-income families and veterans participate in the Fresh Connect Checks Program, which increases the purchasing power of food stamps used at participating farmers markets...

 eating-405521_1280 which increases the purchasing power of food stamps used at participating farmers markets. More than 84,000 checks have already been issued to 152 sites across the state to help eligible New Yorkers access healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables. As the season progresses, additional checks will be issued reaching even more consumers than last year and providing a boost to the agriculture industry.

The program has also been extended to operate year-round at participating farmers’ markets, providing the opportunity to use checks 12 months a year. A full list and map of participating venues can be found at http://freshconnect.ny.gov.

In Sullivan County the program is available at the Eat Healthy Sullivan County Farmers’ Market at the Ted Stroebele Recreation Center, 10 Jefferson St., Monticello on Mondays through October 5 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. 

“The FreshConnect Program allows New Yorkers in need to access locally grown fruits and vegetables, and this year we’re going above and beyond to help people eat healthy,” Governor Cuomo said. “By increasing the amount of funding available and adding year-round partners to the program, we are promoting healthier habits and making a difference in communities across the state.”

The FreshConnect Checks program encourages recipients to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at participating farmers’ markets. The checks provide $2 incentive checks for every $5 in food stamps spent, increasing the purchasing power of SNAP consumers by 40 percent. In 2014, more than $3.2 million in SNAP sales occurred at farmers’ markets throughout the state.

Following the pilot program in 2014, $60,000 in FreshConnect Checks will again be available to Veterans, Service members, and their immediate family members at New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs offices, on a first-come, first-served basis. Office locations are located on the FreshConnect website. 
The Division of Veterans’ Affairs will also be bringing checks to a variety of outreach events throughout New York State. This is a new initiative this year to bring the checks directly to eligible recipients. Communities interested in having a State Veterans Counselor distribute FreshConnect checks at an outreach event are asked to call 518-474-6114.

In addition, $50,000 will develop and implement the Market Manager Certification Program, a new initiative of the FreshConnect Program that will launch this fall. The Farmers’ Market Federation of New York, SUNY Cobleskill and Cornell Cooperative Extension will partner to present an intensive, three-day training session in the coming months and develop online training modules for future market managers.

FreshConnect-funded projects aim to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and are encouraged to accept other nutrition incentives, such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Fruit & Vegetable Checks, Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks, and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition checks.

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