Thousands of SNAP recipients will get extra help purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at their farmer’s market, thanks to the South Carolina Legislature and Governor McMaster. In the budget that took effect July 1, legislators approved an increase in the amount of money allocated for the Healthy Bucks program per household from $10 up to $20.
“SNAP recipients who purchase at least $5 with their SNAP card at participating locations can now receive up to $20 in Healthy Bucks tokens to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Meg Stanley, executive director.
Under Proviso 38.22, the Department of Social Services shall continue the Healthy Bucks program established to provide coupons that allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to obtain additional fresh fruits and vegetables when purchasing fresh produce at authorized farmer’s markets and vendors with SNAP benefits through their EBT cards. Healthy Bucks coupons shall allow the beneficiary to increase the amount of produce purchased, up to twenty dollars per month.
“Healthy Bucks was created with one-time federal funds in 2012 and does not have an impact on the state’s taxpayers. We are grateful to the Department of Social Services and Director Michael Leach for requesting this change and for their commitment to this important program. It’s great working with them to make the increase happen.”
Evidence indicates that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables can help improve health outcomes, yet thousands of low-income South Carolinians report that they cannot consistently afford to purchase fruits and vegetables. With Healthy Bucks, affordable options become more readily available to our most vulnerable families, children, and seniors.
In addition to aiding in the fight against hunger and food insecurity in South Carolina, Healthy Bucks also supports local farmers by stipulating the funds must be used at participating farmer’s markets. To find a list of participating farmer’s markets visit the SC DSS website.
A special thank you to the Budget Conference Committee members, Senator Harvey Peeler, Senator Thomas Alexander, Senator Nikki Setzler, House Speaker Murrell Smith, Representative Gary Simrill, and Representative Todd Rutherford for adopting the budget proviso continuing the Healthy Bucks program.