Medway Community Farm Supports Food Assistance ProgramsJul 01, 2020 08:51AM ● By Michelle Mc Sherry
The economic effects of COVID-19 along with the closures of many businesses has increased the inability of many people, especially those who were economically challenged prior to this crisis, to put food on the table. Medway Community Farm supports the food pantries, but is also a participating retailer for SNAP. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as the revised food stamps program, can help during this time. The current program issues recipients a card known as the Electronics Benefits Transfer card which looks like a debit card. Monthly benefits are electronically transferred to the card which can be used for food items. A few food items are ineligible to be purchased with the EBT such as hot foods or food to be eaten in the store.
A program within SNAP, the Healthy Incentive Program, or HIP, helps recipients to purchase more fruits and vegetables for their households. For every $1 spent to purchase fruits and vegetables, clients will receive $1 back on their EBT cards up to a monthly limit. At MCF, in addition to the vegetables at the store, a share can even be purchased with the SNAP dollars and are eligible for the dollar match. The cap is based on the household size. As an example, a household of 3-5 persons can use up to $60 per month of their SNAP benefits on fruits and vegetables and get $60 in the HIP incentives match.
As of May, 46,000 households participate in the SNAP/HIP program and $6.4 million has been distributed as incentives. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, $8.5M has been allocated for HIP funding. This is up from the previous year of $4M. The program has been such a success that the initial 3-year projection in 2017 was spent in less than 6 months. If you are currently a SNAP recipient, you are already enrolled in HIP.
With the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, additional funding has been allocated to assist those households with children who would have been eligible for free or reduced school meals. For each eligible child, households will receive $5.70 per day or $28.50 per week. All participating SNAP retailers, including Medway Community Farm, accept these P-EBT cards.
The Department of Transitional Assistance, who runs the SNAP program for Massachusetts, has outreach partners to assist those who are eligible for the services or need help accessing the services. At Medway Community Farm, we can help you connect to the Medway Council on Aging, our local outreach partner. A few other outreach partners servicing this area include:
American National Red Cross
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Worcester
The Greater Boston Food Bank