It's a sunny, perfect farmers-market-type-day at Sparks United Methodist Church. Market Manager Everett Myers makes the rounds in the parking lot. Giving us a tour, he pointed out where the best eggs in town were for sale, and the best organic honey. "And here's one of our favorite vendors here. And this is an Avon dealer here. Good job!"
And situated between the strawberries and the Sod Farm booth, a sign-up table fits right in with the church's work. Manned by the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, it's out to feed the hungry by signing up folks who need help with SNAP: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance debit card program that replaced food stamps.
The Food Bank of Northern Nevada is doing a SNAP outreach at local farmers markets. Why a farmers market? The food bank's Sherry Burns told us, "We're going out to where the people are." When there's no one coming up to her table, Sherry works the crowd, first asking folks if they're on assisted housing...checking incomes and signing them up if they qualify. As she told us, "It's a quick application. Just a little ID, that sort of thing."
It's the food bank's mission…making sure families don't go without. And once families are on the program, they can now come to food stands at farmers markets and use them just like they do at the supermarket. Elizabeth Withers is manning the Lattin Farms of Fallon booth. She says at their stand, SNAP users "Can use their debit card and we can just swipe it easily enough so they don't have to use cash, and it makes it a lot easier for them to get fresh produce."
In addition, EBT (SNAP benefits) are being accepted by a number of farmers at the markets besides Lattin Farms. You can also use them with Holley Farms and Community Roots Stands.
The obvious benefit: more nutritious food for those families in need. And the food bank knows too many who need it. Jocelyn Lantrip told us, "Children are especially at risk this time of year. They're out of school. They're not getting their free school lunch or reduced school lunch."
Everett Myers sees hungry kids too, and parents too proud to take the help. "They both lost their jobs. They lost their home. And they don't want to go on welfare. They just try to pick up a day job here and there. We just hope and pray that things get better."
The help is here. "SNAP" at farmers' markets means fresh fruit and vegetables to needy families, and brings business for local farmers…a win-win for agriculture, and our community during its tough patch.
We have a full list of when and where the Food Bank of Northern Nevada will be signing up new people for the snap program. For their outreach times and locations, go here:
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
Aces Release 5/24/2013 In his first game of a Major League Rehabilitation Assignment from the Diamondbacks, infielder Willie Bloomquist boosted the Reno Aces to an 8-5 win over the Tacoma RainiersMore >>
Bloomquist went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored.More >>