Boulder County Public Health using soda tax fund to provide fresh fruit, vegetables

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Boulder County Public Health announced it is using Boulder’s soda tax funds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need.

Through the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Product Distribution Tax, the health department has expanded two programs as the need for food increases during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Double Up Food Bucks program offers residents participating in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, a dollar-for-dollar match of their benefits to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at Whole Foods or farmers markets located in Boulder, according to a news release from the health department.

Secondly, for residents who don’t quality for federal food assistance programs, “public health staff initiated a rapid response to enroll over 150 individuals and families in the Fruit & Veg Boulder program,” the release states, which provides $15 to $20 a month in “Fruit & Veg Bucks” that can be used at participating locations for fruits and vegetables.

“The Double Up program is an important addition to help put fresh, healthy, local food in reach for residents who often cannot afford it. For some families, this program may be the only way they can get fresh foods,” Amelia Hulbert, Boulder County Public Health healthy eating and active living specialist, stated in the release.

“Feedback showed that the Fruit & Veg program helped participants get the fresh fruits and vegetables they needed during these challenging times,” Hulbert said. “One participant shared, ‘I was not prepared for the virus to limit us this much financially, and I’m grateful for the assistance.’”

Public health staff are working with partner organizations to plan for the upcoming surge in food insecurity anticipated through the fall, the release states.

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