Changes to Close the Gap: A Letter to the SNAP Community

Dear SNAP Customers,

Seacoast Eat Local is writing to both thank you for your support and patronage, and to alert you to some changes to our popular Close the Gap Program that will take effect as of the first winter farmers’ market on November 19.

First, we wish to thank you deeply for your support of our programs. At Seacoast Eat Local, we like to believe that we have forged a meaningful and responsive relationship with our SNAP clients over the years. You’ve let us know, honestly and clearly, about your needs and have supported our work and incorporated our markets into your shopping habits.  We are proud to have served you and to prove what we already knew- that all people, regardless of income, value fresh, local and healthy foods for themselves and their families. Thanks to your support, our SNAP program continues to grow and serve as a model for other organizations around the region and country.

The level of growth we have experienced in only a short time has led us to reflect on the nature of our SNAP programs and their sustainability into the future. We’ve researched programs in other regions, spoken to many of you at farmers’ markets, analyzed our own data, and most importantly, asked ourselves, “how can we support SNAP customers to consistently purchase a greater portion of their groceries from local farms at farmers’ markets, at farm stands and through CSA programs?”

This period of reflection has led to changes in our programs, most notably to Close the Gap, which we would like to share with you.

  • GSMM fruit and vegetable coupons are eligible to be used towards the purchase of a CSA from a local farm. Talk to us to see if this can work for you!
  • The GSMM fruit and vegetable coupon match rate will remain unchanged. We will provide a 1:1 match up to $10 at farmers’ markets through the winter and into the foreseeable future. It’s a great way to double your money at market!
  • This summer, our first 3 participating farm stands provided a SNAP discount of 50% off of fruits and vegetables. We expect that this program will continue to grow- make sure you check to see if your local farm stand is participating in this program!
  • Close the Gap is changing from a monthly give-a-way to a weekly loyalty rewards program. Starting on November 19th, SNAP customers will receive a $10 incentive at every winter farmers’ market incentive when they complete a SNAP transaction. The added $10 will be in the form of a regular SNAP token, good for purchase of any EBT eligible item. In the summer months, the incentive will be $5 per week, with a completed SNAP transaction. For SNAP customers who visit each winter farmers’ market or shop weekly at summer markets, the Close the Gap benefit amount will essentially remain unchanged, but will simply be spread over the month.

We understand that these changes may cause some confusion and will take time to adjust to. We ask that all of our SNAP customers remain patient with us, but also provide us the same clear and honest feedback that you always have. 

Please feel free to contact our staff with any questions or feedback that you may have about these changes. We look forward to hearing from you.

See you on November 19,

Jillian Hall, Director of Programs                                        Shelly Smith, Program Coordinator

jill@seacoasteatlocal.org                                                       shelly@seacoasteatlocal.org

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