Double Dollars helps those using FoodShare/QUEST benefits to purchase more fresh foods at the farmers’ markets from late spring to late fall, and fresh produce at the Co-op from late fall to early spring. It supports people with low incomes making food purchases from local farmers, producers, and from us—a local, community-based retailer.
Last year, the City received a USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant to continue the program at the farmers’ markets and expand Double Dollars to the Co-op during the farmers’ market off-season. We piloted the expansion very successfully from last October to this past March. The pilot offered the Co-op an opportunity to launch the Double Dollars Fund, a program that fulfilled the request of Owners to allow customers to become more involved in helping neighbors purchase nutritious foods. Now shoppers can support Double Dollars for both the farmers’ markets and the Co-op through donations at the registers and by bringing your own shopping bags to carry your groceries.
Double Dollars at the Farmers’ Markets is Back!
The Co-op pilot program was designed to fill a gap when the outdoor markets were out of season, and even with the initial grant funding, there weren’t enough funds in the grant to offer Double Dollars through April and May. This year, thanks to the USDA FINI Grant and support from other organizations and people like you, the gap is being narrowed, and the Double Dollars program at the farmers’ markets will start a full month earlier than last year, and may continue into December at local winter markets as long as funds remain available. The program will start again at the Co-op this coming October. Community Action Coalition For South Central Wisconsin (CAC) is pleased to announce that the Double Dollars program starts up again June 3rd at the locations listed in the box below.
FoodShare/QUEST recipients may bring their EBT cards to these markets, make a withdrawal at the information booth, and receive a dollar-for-dollar match on their withdrawal for up to $25 per market day to spend at the farmers’ market where the withdrawal was made. Find out more about Double Dollars at the farmers’ markets and receive program updates by liking CAC on Facebook or by visiting www.cacscw.org/EBT.php. Willy Street Co-op staff will be at the Eastside Farmers’ Market, Northside Farmers’ Market, and Westside Community Market once per month at the information booth helping distribute FoodShare/QUEST and Double Dollars and to talk about the Double Dollars Fund and our Access Discount Program. If you see us there, stopby to say hello!
You Can Support Double Dollars Every Time You Shop The Co-op
In April, we started the Double Dollars Fund to support Double Dollars at the farmers’ markets and the Co-op. The Double Dollars Fund is fed two ways. One way is by making donations via scan card at the registers. Each register at all three Co-op locations has cards in $1, $5, $10 and $25 increments that you can use to add a tax-deductible donation to your grocery purchases. The other way to support the Double Dollars fund is to bring your own shopping bags to carry your groceries. Each time you use a reusable bag, you save the Co-op money that would be used to purchase disposable bags, and we use that money to fund Double Dollars. For every reusable bag you use, the Co-op tallies 10¢ for the Double Dollars Fund. For every reused disposable bag you use, the Co-op tallies 5¢ for the Double Dollars Fund. All scan card donations and tallies from reusing bags are paid to Community Action Coalition For South Central Wisconsin and allocated for the Double Dollars program. As of May 7th, about one month after the Double Dollars Fund launch, the Co-op has already raised $7,550 to support the program. It costs about $80,000 to provide Double Dollars incentives at current levels (at the number of markets currently participating and once a week October-March at the Co-op). We are hoping to raise more funds locally to support the program’s potential growth.
MACN Matching Up To $5,000 In Double Dollars Fund Contributions This Month!
The Madison Area Chefs Network promotes greater use of locally grown foods by linking local food producers and farmers with local chefs. Their network of over 50 chefs share best practices and commit to bettering current local food endeavors to ensure their future longevity. They host Yum Yum Fest, MACN’s annual end-of-summer celebration. This year, it’s August 6th from 3:00pm-8:00pm at Breese Stevens Field. The festival features dishes and drinks from many local restaurants. Tickets are available now at www.yumyumfest.org. Thanks to their generosity, up to $5,000 of proceeds from their Yum Yum Fest ticket sales are being offered as a match to support the Double Dollars Fund through June 20th. As reported on isthmus.com on May 8th, 2017, MACN executive director Bryan Weinstein said “MACN wanted to ensure a large chunk of money [from Yum Yum Fest] would go to charity… We’re pledging this money because the most important thing for us is to give back to the community, especially to people who are improving the food system here in Madison.”
Between now and June 20th, you can support the Co-op meeting MACN’s Yum Yum Fest match for the Double Dollars Fund by either making a donation at checkout, or by reusing shopping bags. For every reusable bag you use, the Co-op will make a 10¢ contribution that will be matched; for every reused paper or plastic bag, we’ll make a 5¢ contribution; and because of the match, every contribution will count twice! We’re grateful to MACN for offering this fun challenge and a greater opportunity to support Double Dollars. Thank you, MACN!
Double Dollars Co-op Pilot Outcomes
During our pilot from October 25th to March 14th, we issued 10,076 Double Dollars Coupons to those using FoodShare/QUEST at the Co-op, a total value of $50,380. Our initial allocation from USDA FINI was $40,000, and so the City made a request to the USDA to allow for the Co-op to distribute more coupons during the dates we intended to offer the program. Of those coupons distributed, customers redeemed 9,380 coupons, or 93% of the coupons distributed, which is at the higher end of redemption rates that the Co-op has heard about from similar programs at other retailers nationally. The total redemption value was $45,824.41; and the average spent on each $5 coupon was $4.89, 98% of the coupon value, all spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. Compared to the same time period in FY16, Access Discount Enrollment increased 40%, purchases made using the Access Discount increased by 8%, purchases made by FoodShare/QUEST participants increased by 22% and produce sales to FoodShare/QUEST participants increased by 29%. Your Co-op is incredibly grateful and proud to be part of this City program, and equally proud to hear that Owners want to get involved in its continued success. We’re looking forward to seeing if we can make MACN’s match in Double Dollars support by June 20th, andwe thank you for all the support that you wish to provide.