Do you know what it is like to be hungry? Or to make food choices on a very limited budget? More than 47 million Americans are on some form of nutrition assistance, most likely via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called food stamps. SNAP has recently experienced deep cuts in funding, pulling the rug out from under some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Stretching SNAP benefits to put filling and nutritious food on the dinner table is more difficult than ever. For SNAP recipients, acquiring fresh food is often out of the question for various reasons, including the “triple-A” challenges of access, awareness, and affordability. But consuming fruits and vegetables could help address many of the illnesses that are caused by lack of nourishment, including obesity and diabetes.
There is a dearth of information publicly available about the SNAP program and its possibilities. Did you know that SNAP recipients can use their benefits to purchase seeds and seedlings? SNAP gardens are starting to spring up all over thanks to a national effort to raise awareness. And while we try to paint unfamiliar faces on the recipients of SNAP benefits, it is likely that you have friends, co-workers, neighbors or relatives enrolled in the program.
There is no single answer, but what if we could at least begin to address the cost issue – downsize the SNAP gap? The answer to hunger is not all based in economics, but change has to start somewhere.
Beginning this spring, the Atherton Market is partnering with Friendship Gardens to launch SNAP2, a program to provide matching funds for each SNAP dollar spent at three locations: the Atherton Market, Queen City Mobile Market, and the Friendship Gardens To Go Mobile Market.
To kick off SNAP2, Friendship Gardens and the Atherton Market will co-host “March Match-ness,” an evening of fun and fundraising to match nutrition benefits. The launch event will be held on March 15 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at the Atherton Market, 2104 South Boulevard, Charlotte. You can look forward to food, entertainment, and a chance to make new friends, while learning about ways to help support our neighbors. You can find more information on the Friendship Gardens Facebook page.
Want to participate? Tickets are $5. We need a few more chefs or culinary geniuses, chef sponsors, or event sponsors at any level. We also need volunteers who will be able to attend the event at no charge. Contact Lynn Caldwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Katherine Metzo at Kathy@friendship-gardens.org. For tickets and information, visit http://www.friendship-gardens.org/march-match-ness
You can help us make a difference in the lives of many.