Lynchburg Community Market sees skyrocketing SNAP sales

The market says they've seen SNAP sales rise by 500 percent over the past two weeks.
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 4:23 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A sign on the back of a chair inside the Lynchburg Community Market guides people to a window.

It’s where many folks have flocked in recent weeks to get a match on their SNAP dollars.

“So people who normally didn’t qualify for funds are receiving the funds now and people are coming down here to use them,” said Darrius Slaughter, Lynchburg Community Market assistant market manager.

Many Lynchburg City Schools families are now the beneficiaries of Pandemic EBT cards, which can be used at the market.

It works like this: You swipe your card, say how much you want to use and then receive tokens to spend in the market.

They then match whatever amount you asked for with tokens that can then be spent on fruits and vegetables.

Slaughter says that for now, there’s no cap on the amount they can match.

“We’ve had $100, $200. They swipe their card, we give them $200 that they paid for and then we match them an extra $200, so that’s $400 they can come down here and use all for farmers,” said Slaughter.

Farmers say they’ve been able to benefit from the program, which is fueled by a grant.

They say they’ve seen plenty of new faces at their tables.

“We’re benefited, obviously, as the farmers,” said Arden Jones, Great Day Gardens operator. “We’ve been able to get a fair price for the food that we’re producing and then the people who are using the SNAP tokens that have the double dollars.”

And for Slaughter, he says he’s happy to see new people building relationships with the farmers.

“A lot of people have been coming here for the first time and I think they’re gonna turn into regulars so I always enjoy seeing new people down here,” said Slaughter.

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