Strong SNAP Usage Still Growing at Reston Farmers Market

by Dave Emke August 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm 19 Comments

Usage of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at the Reston Farmers Market has been strong from the get-go, but it hit a new high this past weekend.

“We had 32 households come by and use their SNAP benefits,” said Bill Threlkeld, division director for neighborhood resources at Cornerstones. “The high before that was 29, so we keep trying to outdo ourselves.”

A SNAP at Market Appreciation Day has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12, at the farmers market. The free event will include activities for kids, cooking demonstrations, giveaways and raffles, music, demos and tours, VIP recognitions, and health screenings. It will also provide an opportunity for families and individuals to learn how SNAP beneficiaries are able to access healthier food options by shopping with their benefits at participating Fairfax County farmers markets, including in Reston.

The community is also invited to learn about SNAP at Market volunteer opportunities at the Reston Farmers Market, and about the financial support that is needed to provide matching dollars for the program. Through grant funding and donors, SNAP at Market allows beneficiaries to get up to $20 in matching funds for the purchase of fruits and vegetables.

“I like to tell the recipients it’s like finding $20 on the ground,” Threlkeld said.

This is the SNAP at Market’s third year in Reston. Saturday’s event has been scheduled as part of National Farmers Market Week.

The Cornerstones program at Reston Farmers Market has been the most successful of the four in the county, in terms of number of SNAP dollars spent and matching funds received, since it began. Threlkeld said $15,000 in SNAP sales took place at the market in 2016, and the program is on pace to increase that number by 30 percent this year.

“[SNAP at Market] is a real great opportunity as part of our mission, which is helping folks with basic needs,” he said. “It provides a great opportunity for those who are receiving SNAP benefits to use those benefits at the market and have access to some really great food, improve their nutritional habits and just be able to shop there like everybody else.”

For more information about SNAP in Virginia, including eligibility limits, visit the state’s Department of Social Services.

The Reston Farmers Market takes place each Saturday morning, from 8 a.m. to noon, at Lake Anne Plaza.

  • 30yearsinreston

    Reston Farmers Market is not the most affordable place to buy food
    I suggest they shop somewhere else for better value

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Nah, dude. I buy SNAP cards out in front to of Hunters Woods Shopping Center for about half value. Couple that with the market rebate, dude, that’s some cheap, good eats.

      • RestonAssurance

        I worked at a grocery store in a past life. I have witnessed families buying only the cheapest foods – reduced priced meats, about to expire this or that, just to get the most out of their food. No junkfood.

        • Greg

          We do that every time we shop. We redeem coupons too.

  • RestoniansForTrump

    SNAP benefits sound like handouts. Sad that they’re still in place, they oughta be phased out, I’m hoping Trump eliminates such entitlements if he’s a true conservative. If people really need food, they oughta work for it and earn money and pay for their food. Also, farmers markets are overrated, marked-up places where liberals like to shop so they can tell their friends they buy ”organic”. Trump won fair and square, stop complaining liberals.

    • RoadApples

      I believe you are a two-faced nit-wit playing a shell game with your statement and your nametag emphasis is facetious.
      —- — and the shetland pony you road in on.

    • Mike M

      I believe entitlements needs to be severely slashed for the reasons you stated. I think if we got serious about need, we could handle the hard core needs with ease. But there are so many forms of the dole! So many people taking payments and subsidies. It’s an addiction more dangerous to the health of the country than the opioid epidemic (and not unrelated)! SNAP may be a decent program, but it stuns me to see wealthy libs encouraging those on the margin to shop at the high end markets. It betrays their very presumptuous and preposterous “Let them east cake” sensibilities.

      • RestonAssurance

        My take on the high end markets is to obtain more real food instead of the easily accessible, highly refined and processed foods at our local grocery stores, which lead to vapid comorbidities and long term illness.

        • Mike M

          My take: When you are using someone else’s money, you ought to take care to economize. Focus on eating so when you get on your feet, you can graduate to being more choosy.

          • RestonAssurance

            The comorbidities they will have acquired from years or subpar food will put them in the other dragnet of healthcare. I’d rather invest in feeding the hungry, and educate them on better food choices, than pay higher healthcare. It’s economizing and being more choosy for the long term wealth and health of our community.

          • Mike M

            Ever hear of cost benefit? If they don’t make good choices at the supermarket, they won’t at the incredibly limited offerings of the Farmer’s market. And if you agree they should be denied healthcare at our expense, I am OK with that too!

    • RestonAssurance

      So send children into child labor to earn money or goods to exchange for food? Your comment paints a good picture of your ignorance as to who exactly uses SNAP to survive. I’m certain if the tables were turned that you’d be happy our “Christian” nation is doing good “Christian” things. Trifling.

    • aleopold59

      I hope you’re never hungry, sick or out of work and have to ask some “complaining liberal” or your government for help. Most would probably give it to you — not sure I would.

  • John and Fran Lovaas

    The SNAP program is a great addition to the Reston Farmers Market, thanks to the terrific team of CORNERSTONES staff and volunteers who organize and manage it. Thanks also go to the Friends of Lake Anne for donating generously to help increase the supplement for needy SNAP beneficiaries who are our friends and neighbors.

    The Market, now in its 20th season, is having its best year ever. Come, see for yourself any Saturday morning between 8 AM and 12 NOON. It’s the place where your friends and neighbors meet and shop! With 30 Hardworking Farmers/vendors providing the freshest, most nutritious home grown fruits, vegetables and more, you’ll see why Reston has the best Farmers Market, number one in Northern Virginia.

    Join us this Saturday to celebrate NATIONAL FARMERS MARKET WEEK and learn more about SNAP while you’re there!

  • Serious?

    “I like to tell the recipients it’s like finding $20 on the ground,” Threlkeld said, in regards to SNAP beneficiaries receiving tax payers money.

    • The Constitutionalist

      It’s about as effective too.

    • Why do you bother?

      You have an objection to SNAP being spent on…..FOOD?

  • Serious?

    Do all the vendors at the Farmers Market accept the EBT cards for payment? That would be an obvious violation of the SNAP usage guidelines.

    • RestonAssurance

      No, I believe they are separate allowance vouchers for farmers markets.


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