While the Trump Administration is rolling back food benefits for millions, Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program, aimed at improving access to healthy food for families with lower incomes, is tripling in the coming year, and has added its first South Park location to its list of partners. Frutería Sandoval, a family-owned business in South Park, is now accepting Fresh Bucks Vouchers, which can be used like cash to purchase fruits and vegetables at participating retailers around the Seattle area. Increasing access to healthy, affordable food while supporting the local economy was a key commitment included in the City’s Duwamish Valley Action Plan released in June 2018.
“I am extremely proud and glad that Frutería Sandoval is working with the City to help South Park residents access affordable, healthy food. In just two weeks, the response and interest from the community has been incredible! Our community members are delighted to know that they can use their Fresh Bucks vouchers at our store to buy culturally-connected food this holiday season. We are looking forward to continuing working with the City and hope future collaborations like this one take shape around Seattle.”-Frutería Sandoval Owner, Victor Sandoval
Fresh Bucks originally operated through local farmers markets to provide fresh produce to customers with low incomes, and expanded to offer greater accessibility by partnering with grocery stores in Seattle. Since farmers market hours don’t always align with customer needs, the program added Seattle Safeway locations to its partnerships, alongside smaller neighborhood grocery stores. Frutería Sandoval, being a local grocer offering culturally relevant produce to the South Park area, was an ideal candidate for partnering with Fresh Bucks.
Frutería Sandoval is also notable for its proximity to the Villa Comunitaria, previously known as South Park Information & Resource Center, a community organization that enrolls clients to receive monthly Fresh Bucks vouchers. With this collaboration in place, Villa Comunitaria hopes to connect even more South Park residents to fresh produce accessibility. Fresh Bucks’ community partnerships will continue to grow throughout 2020; stay tuned!
“South Park needs better access to healthy and affordable food. Before Frutería Sandoval, there wasn’t any grocery store that was culturally appropriate and affordable in South Park. Having a local retailer that can accept Fresh Bucks Vouchers such as Frutería Sandoval in the neighborhood is really important and it is going to make a great impact on the lifestyle of many South Park residents, breaching the gap to access healthy and affordable food,”Gladis Clemente, Adult Education and PR Coordinator at Villa Comunitaria
Fresh Bucks Vouchers has established a public lottery application which will be available March 2-March 31, 2020. Seattle residents can apply online or over the phone, and the application will be available in 14 languages.
For more information on Fresh Bucks, including a complete list of all participating locations, visit www.freshbuckseattle.org.