Wilmington initiative doubles EBT benefits for residents

Source: Wilmington Farmers Market

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  • "It’s important not just to feed people who can afford it.” - Gabe and Marylee Reaume, owners of FarmaSea in Hampstead, NC.

Grocery dollars just don’t stretch like they used to. However, for low-income families at the Wilmington Farmers Market, their dollar goes just a bit further.

Every Saturday, residents from across Wilmington line up to purchase local produce, flowers, honey, and goods from over three dozen local vendors. Started in 2018, the market aims to provide “quality, clean, locally grown food.”

The Wilmington Farmer’s Market “Double Bucks” program doubles SNAP/EBT benefits for shoppers to provide high-quality fresh local food for low-income, at-risk populations. In previous years, the farmers market received grant funding to pay for it, but over the past 24 months, they have adopted a different approach; self-funding the program with a fundraiser dinner. 

This year, the second annual Wilmington Farmer’s Market Fundraiser Dinner was a resounding success. It brought together the community to support local farmers and food accessibility.

The dinner, which took place at the Malachi Meadows in Currie, NC, featured a menu prepared by market vendors using ingredients sourced locally. Attendees enjoyed various dishes, highlighting the quality and diversity of goods available in the region. A silent auction and live raffle featuring items donated by local businesses were among the main draws, with all proceeds going towards the fundraising goal. 

strawberries, Wilmington Farmer's Market, farmer, food

Wilmington Farmer's Market Double Bucks

Source: Wilmington Farmers Market Double Bucks program

vegetables farmers market groceries

groceries, farmers market, tomatoes

eggs, groceries, food, Wilmington Farmers Market

Gabe and Marylee Reaume, owners of FarmaSea in Hampstead, North Carolina and market vendors, attended the fundraiser saying that folks shopping with SNAP or EBT benefits get more than just fresh food.

“They’re not just buying tomatoes,” said the Reaumes. “They’re buying tomato plants to go home and grow them to eat. They’re being very selective about how they spend their money and there’s so much to go around. It’s important not just to feed people who can afford it.”

The event raised almost $5,000, allowing the Wilmington Farmer’s Market to double SNAP/EBT benefits for the next 12 months. Individuals and families utilizing benefits can now receive twice the value for their purchases at the market, making healthy, locally-grown food more accessible to all.

Phyllis Blake has been shopping at the market since its inception.

“I shop at the market all of the time; I support the EBT program because it is an unbelievable opportunity for people to buy local fresh food,” said Blake. 

More information about The Wilmington Farmers Market and the Double Bucks program can be found here.