Lawmakers looking to increase access to healthy food for families on SNAP

More than 29,000 families statewide have participated in the program

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Food Policy Council heard from agencies and food program representatives on ways the state can support programs that increase access to healthy foods for underserved communities.

The Massachusetts Healthy Incentives Program provides monthly incentives ranging from $40 for a family with one or two people and up to $80 for families of six or more to households that receive food stamps.

When families purchase fruits and vegetables from farmers markets, the money they spend is immediately added back to their food stamp benefits card to spend at any SNAP retailer.

Vendors at the Tuesday Market in Northampton participate in the program.

This year SNAP customers were excited to get peaches from the market after a hard freeze ruined the crops last year.

“Peaches are expensive and they’re a treat and it’s something that we only have for a shortened amount of time,” Miki Lankowski explained. “So many customers were getting $10 or $15 worth of peaches which they never would have considered doing.”

More than 29,000 families have participated in the program.