CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In an effort to improve access to healthier foods, the Grow Local South Texas Farmers Market at the Art Center will be accepting SNAP as a form of payment.
According to Texas Health and Human Services, as of April 2022, more than 62,000 people in Nueces County are eligible for SNAP. 3NEWS spoke with Executive Director of Grow Local South Texas Gilda Ramirez, who said the program aligns with the organization's mission.
"Our mission for Grow Local is to grow a healthy community and one of the things is to provide access to these healthy foods," she said. "They can come and use SNAP every Wednesday from now on. We're practicing right now. We haven't officially launched it. We're in the soft launch."
In the meantime, Grow Local has plenty of information for those who may be interested in participating.
"It's really great that we're doing this, I feel like this should have been done sooner," said SNAP Coordinator, Cayley Benavides.
Benavides helps train farmers market vendors on this form of payment.
"I will be doing all the transactions for the SNAP coupons, so customers will come to me and swipe their EBT cards, for exchange for SNAP coupons that they can use here for vendors that have eligible items," Benavides said.
Eligible items include breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables; even meat and dairy products.
"Methodist Healthcare Ministries provided us with $35,000 for 2023, to be able to do the implementation," Ramirez said.
Nueces County residents aren't the only ones who can benefit from the opportunity.
"Anybody from across the United states, that has SNAP benefits, can come and shop," Ramirez said.
Non-eligible items for the SNAP program include beer, liquor, vitamins, medicines, and pet food. Grow Local South Texas is hoping to officially launch this SNAP program at the end of February.
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