I have mentioned the International Rescue Committee before. They are an organization that helps refugees start a new life in America.
Here’s a quote from the IRC website:
The IRC provides opportunities for refugees to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of refugees are invited by the U.S. government to seek safety and freedom. Forced to flee conflict or persecution, many have survived for years against incredible odds. They step off the plane with next to nothing but their dignity, hope and determination. In San Diego and many other regional offices across the country, the IRC helps refugees to rebuild their lives.
Fresh Fund is another great program by IRC, that helps low-income households afford produce that is locally and organically produced. San Diego (and the rest of the country) is having such a boom in the sale and advertisement of “organic” food, but organic food comes with a price! If a low-income household has to choose between higher-priced, pesticide-free, organic fruits and vegetables, and lower-priced, shipped-in-from-Mexico, covered-in-pesticides produce, they have to choose the latter.
Fresh Fund encourages low-income families to shop at farmer’s markets. Families and households who hold EBT cards (food stamps), can come to the farmer’s market, and sign up for Fresh Fund. Fresh Fund then takes however much you want to spend from your card, say $20, and gives you wooden tokens that are accepted at all the produce stands in the market. Another incentive is their “doubling” practice. Once a month, you can spend an amount from your EBT card and receive double the tokens. So you can exchange 20 EBT bucks for $40 worth of wooden tokens!
The downside to this really great program, is that the City Heights Farmers’ Market is TINY. Other farmers’ markets really need to get in on this program. Low-income households deserve to be able to eat healthy and organic. I would love to see the Hillcrest and Little Italy invite Fresh Fund into their market.
Other farmers’ markets that take EBT are Mission Valley, Point Loma, and University City.