We reported this past July that the City of Madison received a grant through the USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program to support the City’s now four-year-old Double Dollars nutrition incentive program for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants at farmers’ markets. Double Dollars helps those using FoodShare/QUEST purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables. We are part of this program thanks to partnership with the City of Madison, Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Madison and Dane County Public Health, and Wholesome Wave.
In the spring, summer, and early fall, Double Dollars vouchers are available at local farmer’s markets. And now, thanks to a $40,000 allocation for your Co-op as part of the City’s grant funds, we will be able to extend Double Dollars into the fall and winter months by offering Double Dollars Tuesdays for all shoppers using FoodShare/QUEST to make Co-op purchases.
When is Double Dollars Tuesdays?
Starting on Tuesday, October 25, and then every Tuesday until funds run out or March 14, 2017 (whichever comes first) we will be giving out Double Dollars Coupons to eligible shoppers on Double Dollars Tuesdays. Coupons will be good through March 31, 2017. With only 8,000 coupons funded through the grant, we decided to offer the program one day per week with hopes that we will have enough coupons for FoodShare/QUEST participants to enjoy through the fall and winter season.
What is Double Dollars Tuesdays?
On Double Dollars Tuesdays, any shopper using a FoodShare/QUEST card to purchase groceries will be eligible to receive up to $20 worth of Double Dollars coupons to use during future shopping trips. Double Dollars coupons are designed to help with fresh fruit and vegetable purchases, and so any item in our Produce Department can be purchased using a Double Dollars coupon.
How Do Double Dollars Coupons Work?
Double Dollars Coupons are issued after you shop, at the checkout line. For every $5 you spend using your FoodShare/QUEST card for any FoodShare/QUEST eligible items, the Co-op will give you one $5 Double Dollars Coupon, up to $20, good for any Produce Department purchases.
•If you spend $5-$9.99 on FoodShare/QUEST, you get one coupon
•If you spend $10-$14.99 on FoodShare/QUEST you get two coupons
•If you spend $15-$19.99 on FoodShare/QUEST, you get three coupons
•If you spend $20+ on FoodShare/QUEST, you get four coupons
The Double Dollars Coupons are each a value of up to $5. To receive the full value of the coupon, you must spend at least the full $5. If you spend less than $5, you will still be remitting the entire coupon. You can use as many Double Dollars coupons in one shopping trip as you like. You can also use the coupons any day of the week, at any Co-op location, in combination with other Co-op discounts and sales, and with any tender types we accept (cash, check, credit card, debit card, FoodShare/QUEST, WIC, etc.). All coupons must be used by March 31st, 2017. Coupons may not be used anywhere but the Co-op, and the Co-op cannot accept Double Dollars vouchers from any farmers’ markets.
Who is Eligible to Receive and Use Double Dollars Coupons?
Double Dollars Tuesdays are for FoodShare/QUEST participants. Anyone using a FoodShare/QUEST card at the checkout line on Tuesdays are eligible to participate in Double Dollars Tuesdays as available, and use the coupons. You do not need to be a Co-op Owner to participate. When redeeming a Double Dollars coupon, you will need to show your FoodShare/QUEST card to the cashier at checkout so that we know that a FoodShare/QUEST participant is receiving the benefits of the coupon.
How Do I Become Eligible for FoodShare/QUEST?
FoodShare is a federal benefit that provides extra money for groceries to low-income individuals and families. The benefits come on an easy-to-use debit-like card that can be used at the Co-op, many farmers markets, and most major grocery stores. To find out if you may be eligible, please call Second Harvest at 1-877-366-3635 for a confidential screening. You may also schedule an appointment when you call the number or drop-in to talk with Second Harvest here at the Co-op. Second Harvest is at the Lakeview Public Library next to Willy North from 10:00am to 2:00pm the first Monday of every month; at the Willy West Community Room from 2:00pm to 6:00pm on the second Monday of every month; and at the Willy East Community Room from 8:00am to 12:00pm on the second Tuesday of every month. During your appointment, a FoodShare Outreach specialist will assist you with an application, answer questions, and connect you with other great community resources.
Reminder: Participating in FoodShare/QUEST is a Qualifier for the Access Discount Program
If you are participating in FoodShare/QUEST and you are a Co-op Owner, you are eligible to participate in our Access Discount Program, which will provide you an additional 10% off all groceries, stretching your FoodShare/QUEST purchases, Double Dollars purchases, and all other tender-types you use for your grocery shopping budget even further. Becoming an Owner is easy, and those eligible for the Access Discount Program may make payments towards Ownership at as little as $4 per year for Individual Owners, and $7 per year for Household Owners.
There are other qualifiers for participating in the Access Discount Program as well, and you only need to demonstrate that you meet one qualification, such as participating in Medicaid (BadgerCare/Senior Care); the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Section 8 Housing Assistance/Community Development Authority (HUD); the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program; the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program; FairShare CSA Coalition Partner Shares; receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI); or proof that your annual gross income within last year is at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline.
Please stop by the Customer Service Desk if you would like to become an Owner and participate in the Access Discount Program. In addition to receiving 10 percent off your groceries and lower equity payments for Ownership, Access Discount Program participants also receive one free Co-op class per year, which can be used for any class at any location that charges a registration fee (many Co-op classes are already offered for free).
Double Dollars Survey for Coupon Users—Win a Gift Card for Participating
As part of receiving the USDA grant, the City and its partners agreed to survey willing participants about their fruit and vegetable purchases at the beginning and the end of the program. Each coupon will have a link on the back to participate in the survey online. You may also complete a paper copy of the survey at Customer Service. Participation in the survey is optional and participants will be asked to share their contact information with Madison and Dane County Public Health (contact information will remain secure). People who are using the Double Dollars coupons and complete both surveys at the beginning and the end of the program will be entered to win a Co-op Gift Card (courtesy of the grant funding).
Access Discount Review: You Can Help
We review the Access Discount Program and its qualifiers every two years. The previous committee convened two years ago,in Fiscal Year 2015. Assessing the program is important to ensure that our qualifiers are up-to-date with changes to public and private benefit programs, to review whether everyone in our community feels like they can both shop and join the Co-op, and to make the Access Discount Program a continued resource for preventing food insecurity in our community.
Thanks to You for Double Dollars Tuesdays and the Access Discount Program
Both Double Dollars Tuesdays and the Access Discount Program are possible because of you and your neighbors. Thanks to your commitment to our local community, both your investment in Ownership and public programming have led our community leaders in the City of Madison and Dane County to see us as one of their partners for improving food security in our region. It’s the backing of our Owners that helps demonstrate that your Co-op can be trusted to help ensure our food community is nourishing, enriching, just, and building equity in our local economy. We are excited to roll out the Double Dollars program at our Co-op and to continue to innovate ways to make eating fresh fruits and vegetables easy and local all season long. We appreciate you, our Owners, for continuing to choose us as your local store that meets your local needs. Thank you for shopping, for investing, and for helping make a difference!