Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today announced that Fresh Bucks, the City’s healthy food program focused on getting more fruits and vegetables into the hands of families with low incomes, is tripling the number of customers enrolled in the coming year. With $2 million in funding in the 2020 budget that was approved by Council, Fresh Bucks will enroll over 6,000 Seattle residents in 2020, up from 2,000 in 2019. Customers enrolled in Fresh Bucks Vouchers receive $40 a month in benefits that can be used like cash to buy fruits and vegetables at participating retailers.
The Mayor’s decision to triple the number of people Fresh Bucks serves comes as the Trump administration issues a final rule which would result in 3.7 million fewer people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits each month, including nearly 1 million students who would lose access to free or reduced lunches. In Seattle, SNAP helps nearly 77,000 residents, or 11% of the city’s population, and SNAP helps 929,000 Washington residents, or 13% of the state population put food on their tables. In April 2020, Mayor Durkan submitted a public comment in opposition to the administration’s changes to SNAP.
“As the federal government refuses to help our most vulnerable communities, Seattle is stepping up to ensure our working families can access the healthy, affordable food they need,” said Mayor Durkan. “Food insecurity disproportionately impacts communities of color and immigrants and refugees, and the Trump administration’s work to dismantle SNAP will undoubtedly exacerbate existing inequities in our country. Tripling the size of Fresh Bucks is an important step, but ultimately, we need the federal government to abandon their arbitrary and cruel changes to SNAP, and actually help working families put food on the table.”