The Double Up Food Bucks program is funded by federal, state and philanthropic dollars. (Shutterstock)

Families who use Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks program — which matches produce purchases for low-income shoppers — can now earn as much as $20 a day for fruits and vegetables at participating stores and markets, up from what was available for most of the year, because of additional state, federal and philanthropic funds.

This story also appeared in Detroit Free Press

The national nonprofit, Fair Food Network, paused the program for more than five months last year, aside from its Flint locations, to slow down spending, stay within its budget and keep the program running in the long term. After the pause was lifted in January, participants were able to get up to $10 in daily matches, compared to $20 in previous years.

The program allows families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to purchase additional fruits and vegetables by matching dollars at more than 240 locations across Michigan, including 28 sites in Detroit. Along with the $20-a-day match resuming, customers can also use dollars they’ve accumulated, instead of a daily $10 spending cap. Participants must spend Double Up earnings within 90 days in most cases.

Usage of Double Up Food Bucks increased by 212% from 2019 to 2022, the nonprofit said, as food prices surged because of inflation.

“Double Up continues to be an essential community resource, helping individuals and families using SNAP bring home more fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, especially during times of high inflation and reduced COVID-era federal benefits. In addition to helping families bring home more healthy food, the program puts more dollars into the pockets of Michigan farmers and supports local economies,” said Holly Parker, chief strategy and program officer at Fair Food Network.

Tens of thousands of Michigan families were receiving extra food assistance benefits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but that additional aid ended in March. The boost in benefits provided relief to households as grocery costs increased and made room in budgets for families to pay for other essentials, like utilities and housing. More than 1.3 million Michiganders receive food assistance benefits. 

The Double Up Food Bucks program is funded by federal, state and philanthropic dollars. In June, the state increased its funding for the program to $4.9 million for fiscal years 2023 and 2024. Last year, the program received $2 million from the state. Federal funds require a match with state and philanthropic dollars, according to the news release.

For more information about the program or to find a participating location, go to:

Nushrat Rahman covers issues related to economic mobility for the Detroit Free Press and BridgeDetroit as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

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