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Maximize EBT Dollars During Government Shutdown by Using the Olympia Farmers Market Fresh Bucks Program

The USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) directed state agencies to issue Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as Basic Food in Washington, February benefits by Jan. 20, 2019. This is earlier than usual, to minimize the potential impact of any lapse in funding because of the Federal Government partial shutdown.

“Healthy food is foundational to our well-being and without it, we struggle to fully contribute to our communities,” said Babs Roberts, Director for the DSHS Community Services Division within the Economic Services Administration. “In our state, over 900,000 children and adults receive food benefits. Seventy-five percent of the people who receive Basic Food do not receive any other cash assistance to make ends meet.”

SNAP recipients normally see their monthly food benefits arrive on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT cards) anywhere from the first of the month to the 20th. DSHS is urging clients who receive February benefits early to budget carefully. “Some recipients--those who get their benefits on the 20th of each month, for example--will be going two months between SNAP disbursements,” Roberts explained. “People will want to ensure that the benefits they are receiving now last as long as possible.”

To use Fresh Bucks:

1. Go to the Olympia Farmers Market office window.

2. Swipe your EBT card and receive EBT Market Tokens.

3. Double your dollars. Fresh Bucks provides SNAP / EBT shoppers with extra buying power, by providing an additional dollar for dollar EBT match of up to $20 per day.

4. EBT shoppers may use their Fresh Bucks to purchase fresh vegetables, herbs and mushrooms from any local farmer at the Olympia Farmers Market. (Note: EBT can be used on produce, bakery and meat items, but Fresh Bucks is specifically for local farm produce.)

Fresh Bucks is a collaboration between the Olympia Farmers Market and the Washington State Department of Health, thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. No change is provided from EBT or Fresh Bucks redemption and Fresh Bucks and neither may not be redeemed for cash.