4/17/2014

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City program helping low-income families eat healthy

City program helping low-income families eat healthy
SEATTLE -- Eating healthy comes at a price, and often that prices is too high for low-income families.

The City of Seattle is now trying to lend those people a helping hand by offering a unique deal on healthy food. The new Fresh Bucks pilot program gives people who rely on food stamps a chance to eat better foot without breaking the bank.

When it comes to eating healthy, Lynn Sereda sometimes has to make difficult choices.

"To me this isn't just about having some nice greens every now and then, this to me is almost like a life or death situation," she said.

For the last five years, Sereda has been on food stamps while battling a weight issue. But thanks to the new Fresh Bucks program, she's now able to double the value of her fruit and vegetable purchases when using her EBT card at local farmer's markets.

"I am on Social Security and I have to make a limited income stretch," Sereda said. "This is enabling me to come here, and to come here every week now."

The program isn't just helping out low-income families, either. It's also helping local farmers sustain their business.

Shelly Pasco-Verdi of Whistling Train Farm said her EBT sales have doubled since the program began.

"It feels really good to me to be able to feed or provide food for these low-income families and give them healthy food that is the same food I feed my own family," she said.

For her part, Sereda''s happy the program can help local businesses while also helping local families.

"It's important to keep the small farms up and going," she said. "They've been there for generations and the money is staying in the community."

JP Morgan Chase donated $40,000 to the Fresh Bucks program, which will run until the end of September.

Farmer's markets in Columbia City, Lake City, Phinney, the U District, Magnolia, West Seattle and Capitol Hill are participating in the program.

More information about the program is available online.
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