SNAP Program Outreach Helps Needy Nevadans - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

SNAP Program Outreach Helps Needy Nevadans

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For families in need in northern Nevada, it's easier now to get help with food. A food stamp outreach is spreading out to churches, schools…and farmers markets.

On a perfect farmers-market morning, Everett Myers shows off the pride of his food bazaar. Pointing out the cream of the crop, he told us, "This is a 4th generation farmer from California, his name is William Minton. These are the ambrosia melons right here. They are just out of this world."

And in the middle of the market, there's an unusual addition. A tent and table are set up, with food bank outreach worker Jim Leimer signing up folks who need help with SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Why here? As he told us, “There's a lot more traffic during the week, which is the days that we usually work."

About 20 cents of every SNAP dollar spent on food goes to farmers, so people buying directly from farmers provides a boost. At the same time, 16% of Nevadans are below the poverty line. That's why they're signing up for SNAP benefits…between the strawberries and tomato booths. Jocelyn Lantrip of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada told us, “About 1 in 6 Nevadans do not have the food that they need. The number of our children is much higher, 1 in 4."

At his booth, Jim checks incomes and signs folks up if they qualify. They all have a story of tough times lasting too long. He remembers “a single mother with 4 teenagers. She lost her income, she has to wait for unemployment to be processed, and she just didn't know where to turn."

The outreach comes from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. It's part of their mission. As Lantrip told us, “Some people do qualify and they don't even know it, and that's one of the reasons we are out doing this." There and other places, for folks going through their tough patch. While at this farmers market there's a bounty of food, Jim Leimer knows how hard it is for many to enjoy it. As he told us, “I hope and pray that the economy gets better and the need goes down for this. You know, that's why we're here, that's why we're here to help."

Those who get the benefits can use them to buy food at the Sparks Farmers Market on Thursdays, and the Fallon Farmers Market on Tuesdays. You can find out when and where the Food Bank of Northern Nevada will be signing up new people for SNAP…they have a packed schedule for August. Just click on this link.

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