You can double or even triple your food benefits with SNAP Stretch! This program helps low income shoppers get free fruit and vegetables in West Virginia!
In this article, we’ll review what the SNAP Stretch program is, who is eligible for it, how it works and what you need to do to start getting extra produce when you shop with your food benefits.
What is SNAP Stretch?
SNAP Stretch is a dollar-matching program that provides a 1-to-1 match on any purchases you make at participating markets. That means if you spend $1, you’ll get an extra $1 worth of free produce. If you spend $10, you’ll get an extra $10. Whatever you spend will be doubled. If you are a senior or have children with you, it may even be tripled!
This is a government-funded nutrition incentive program that is designed to encourage low income shoppers in West Virginia to make healthy food choices with their SNAP food benefits. The program rewards shoppers with free fruits and vegetables when they shop at participating retailers.
SNAP Stretch is similar to the Double Up Food Bucks program. However, it is not affiliated with the nationwide Double Up movement. Instead, this local program is managed by the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition.
Who is eligible?
Anyone who shops with SNAP food benefits at a participating market can receive a 1-to-1 dollar match with SNAP Stretch! You do not have to sign up or register for anything. You just have to shop with your benefits at a participating market, as listed below.
If you have a senior or children in your household, then you may be able to get even more free food when you shop at a participating farmers market.
Seniors who are at least 60 years old will receive a 2-to-1 match rate when they shop at participating markets! That means you’ll receive $2 for every $1 you spend at the market. Many seniors get only the bare minimum in food stamps, which makes this program extremely helpful. You can turn $23 in food stamps to $69 in fresh produce!
If you have children, you can receive extra benefits too! The program’s website states that “if you have a child with you, you will receive an additional 1:1 match in addition to regular SNAP Stretch.” That’s basically a 2-to-1 match, meaning you’ll get $2 for every $1 you spend!
How does it work?
If you shop at a grocery store, you’ll usually get a 50% discount at checkout on eligible fruits and vegetables. That’s the easiest way for the store to offer SNAP Stretch.
However, if you shop at a Farmers Market, you will need to go to the info booth first. You’ll swipe your EBT card in exchange for tokens or paper coupons that can be redeemed for food from the vendors at the market. Seniors and children will receive an additional boost.
Of course, every seller who offers SNAP Stretch can manage the program a little differently. The details may vary depending on where you choose to shop. We have a list of participating vendors below and you can always call ahead to confirm how the program works at that market.
What can I buy?
You can use your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to buy any food for human consumption that isn’t specifically excluded by the USDA.
However, the SNAP Stretch program only allows you to purchase:
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh herbs
- Plant starts
- Canned, dried or frozen fruits and vegetables that do not contain added sugars, fats, oils or salt
When you redeem your SNAP Stretch dollars, you’ll need to make sure that you choose eligible products sold by a participating vendor.
Where can I use SNAP Stretch?
In 2022, there were over 42 farmers markets and farm stands around West Virginia that participated in this program. However, the list changes frequently and the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition has not released the list for this summer yet.
In the meantime, we were able to confirm that the following markets are participating:
|The Wild Ramp
|555 14th St W Huntington WV 25704
|800 Smith St Charleston WV 25301
You can double or even triple your benefits through SNAP Stretch when you shop with your EBT food benefits at a participating market in West Virginia. This program provides a dollar-match to help low income families purchase more healthy fruits, vegetables, herbs, and plant starts. The program has successfully helped countless families maximize their food benefits.