State, Private-Sector Partner to Double Food Bucks to Help Families, Local Agriculture

October 19, 2020, 11:09 AM HST (Updated October 19, 2020, 11:09 AM)
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The State of Hawai‘i will match a donation of half a million dollars from a hui of private-sector organizations toward the DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks program.

DA BUX doubles the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits spent on locally grown food at participating grocery stores. Several private-sector organizations secured $500,000 for the program to increase SNAP buying power for recipients at participating grocery stores, such as KTA Super Stores and Times Supermarket.

The state match increases that amount to $1 million that will be available for SNAP recipients to purchase locally produced, fresh and nutritious fruits, vegetables and proteins at participating locations statewide.

“‘DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks’ is a triple-win solution because it supports local farmers with an increased customer base, low-income families who receive double the purchasing power for healthy, Hawai‘i-grown produce, and our entire community by keeping dollars in the local economy,” said Gov. David Ige in a press release Monday.

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Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance for low and no-income individuals. Administrators are seeing a higher number of recipients as families continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The last thing people living on little to no income during the pandemic should have to worry about is whether they can afford to feed themselves and their families. With DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks, everyone with a SNAP-EBT card can purchase fresh, nutritious Hawaiʻi-grown food to keep themselves and their loved ones nourished,” said Elvin Padilla, Jr., director of food security at the Stupski Foundation.

The cross-sector partnership includes contributions by the following state and private partners:

  • State of Hawai‘i ($500,000)
  • Stupski Foundation ($200,000)
  • Ulupono Initiative ($200,000)
  • The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation ($50,000)
  • Kamehameha Schools ($25,000)
  • Anonymous ($25,000)

The funds are in addition to $100,000 ($50,000 in each of fiscal years 2020 and 2021) appropriated toward the program by the Legislature last year, which has also been matched with philanthropic dollars to maximize a federal match.

Act 153, SLH 2019, established the Hawai‘i Healthy Food Incentive Program, to be implemented by the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. The Ag department worked with The Food Basket, Hawai‘i Island’s food bank, to create the DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks Program, which provides a federal match to the state program expanding access for local, low-income communities. This program also directly supports local farmers, creating an increased demand for Hawai‘i’s products while also addressing the state’s food security goals.

DA BUX is a statewide program administered by The Food Basket in partnership with the Hawai‘i Good Food Alliance.

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