Thanks to the Kalamazoo County Hunger-Free Community Coalition, of which the Kalamazoo Community Foundation is a member, Park Street Market, PFC Natural Grocery & Deli, and Town & Country Supermarket will launch the healthy food incentive program Double Up Food Bucks in grocery stores starting August 1.

Double Up Food Bucks match the value of Bridge Card or SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables up to $20 a day. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

Eligible shoppers receive a Double Up Food Bucks credit when they purchase fresh produce and can redeem the credit at their next purchase, the next day or at a future date.

"It’s a win-win-win," says Phyllis Hepp, area coordinator for the Kalamazoo County Hunger-Free Community Coalition. "SNAP shoppers get double the produce for their money, farmers benefit from increased access and sales, and more food dollars stay in our local economy and strengthen our community. We know how important fresh produce is for our health, and this program makes it more affordable for a lot of people to aim to get five servings daily."

According to Hepp, more than 13 percent of Kalamazoo County households use SNAP to extend their food budgets. "This is especially critical for households with children, which make up 41 percent of SNAP customers."

All three groceries are located in the City of Kalamazoo: Park Street Market is on 512 N. Park Street, PFC Natural Grocery & Deli is on 507 Harrison Street, and Town & Country Supermarket is on 1824 Portage Street.

"Advocates hope more grocers will apply and offer the program next year to make Double Up Food Bucks accessible in rural as well as urban areas of our county," says Hepp.

Area farmers markets have already been participating in Double Up Food Bucks. "PFC Natural Grocery & Deli helped bring Double Up Food Bucks to the Kalamazoo Farmers Market in the City of Kalamazoo back in 2011," says Hepp. "They introduced the program here, it’s expanded to more local farmers markets and now it’s being offered in local grocery stores. All three grocers are working together and committed to making this a success in Kalamazoo County."

Fair Food Network helped develop the Double Up program for Michigan in 2009, now active at more than 200 sites across the state. More information about Fair Food Network is available at Additional information about the nationwide Double Up Food Bucks is available at

Kalamazoo County Hunger-Free Community Coalition, initiated in 2014 to address local hunger, is a part of the nationwide Hunger Free Communities Network, with programs in every state engaging community advocates representing business, nonprofit, government, education and healthcare organizations.

July 25, 2017