Iola-area folks who qualify for the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program took a step toward healthy eating this year at the Allen County Farmers Market, county commissioners learned Tuesday.
Participants purchased at least $1,245 worth of fruits and vegetables with their food stamps. Last year the number was $296.
The SNAP program doubled the amount recipients could use toward the purchase of fruits and vegetables.
“We were pleased with the increase of participation,” said Debbie Bearden, a market organizer. “We had 50 more people using SNAP cards at the market this year,” compared to 2015.
“It’s a nationwide program and you’re going to see it more and more,” said Calvin Parker, board president of Allen County GROW (Growing Rural Opportunities Works) Food and Farm Council. He pointed out the extra funds for healthy food were not relegated specifically to farmers markets and could be spent anywhere.
Commissioners also agreed for the county to be the conduit for a hoped-for grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The application, being prepared by Thrive Allen County, proposes to use about $12,000 to hire a manager for the farmers market. The math: 30 hours a week for 27 weeks at $15 an hour.
Bearden said the market continues to expand its offerings including entertainment and demonstrations on how to prepare food.
VETERANS DAY will be celebrated in downtown Iola Nov. 5, said Tom Nevans, Veterans Committee representative.
A program will start at 11 a.m. and the parade will follow at noon. Veterans Day officially is Nov. 11, the same in 1918 when World War I ended at 11 a.m.
Nevans gave commissioners a package of 10 green light bulbs, saying the committee hopes to turn the area green by Nov. 5 with residents placing the green lights in porch lights.
“We’d like to have courthouse lights green,” as well, he said. “We’re working on it.”
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