West Duluth Super One joins program to get veggies and fruit to low-income familiesHEALTH NOTES: The West Duluth Super One is one of three grocery stores involved in a pilot program to encourage low-income Minnesotans to eat more healthful foods.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The West Duluth Super One is one of three grocery stores involved in a pilot program to encourage low-income Minnesotans to eat more healthful foods.
The program, announced by Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, works like this:
Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program who purchase $5 or more in fresh fruits and vegetables with their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards will receive a $5 coupon toward their next purchase of fresh produce.
Dubbed SNAP+, the program will run through Sept. 30. About 30,000 of the coupons are expected to be distributed.
The program was supposed to have begun on June 15. But Patrick Miner, store director for Miner’s Inc., which operates the Super One stores, said materials arrived late and employees are just now being trained in the program.
Miner’s was approached by the Minnesota Grocers Association about participating in the pilot program and was glad to do so, Miner said.
“I think this is a great opportunity, using incentives for people to make healthy choices rather than for it to be a mandate,” he said. “To use this pilot program to incentivize participants to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables is a great idea.”
Stores were chosen because they are in areas with high poverty rates, health disparities and a demonstrated need for healthier eating, a Department of Human Services news release said. In addition to the West Duluth Super One, stores were selected in Cass Lake and Crystal.
The $150,000 cost of the program was paid for through the state’s portion of a federal bonus for increasing SNAP access for eligible residents, the news release said. Participants in SNAP must meet income guidelines.