Coalition brings Atlantans together to share personal experiences about access to affordable, healthy food choices
The American Heart Association in Atlanta and Wholesome Wave Georgia teamed up to spotlight some of the roadblocks SNAP recipients hit when attempting to build a family’s diet around healthy food options and the funding methods required to solve this problem.
The initiative, “Grow the Good,” seeks to increase funding that will allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) purchasing power for fresh food and produce to double through purchases from local farmers markets and fresh food stands around the city.
Community Healthy Food Access Coalition members and Atlanta City Council representatives gathered Thursday at East Atlanta Village Farmers Market to drive home the impact increased funding can have on providing healthy food options to Atlantans. Some people purchased fresh food without SNAP benefits while SNAP participants were able to save money and buy more fresh food with Wholesome Wave Georgia’s SNAP doubling program. The program, Georgia Fresh for Less, is designed to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Aug. 26 event will illustrate the difference this can make in the diets of SNAP participants.
“The American Heart Association is committed to ensuring that families have access to affordable healthy food choices,” says Kimberly Wright, Senior Vice President & Executive Director of the American Heart Association in Atlanta. “What we know is that when families are nutrition secure, their overall health improves. We are so thrilled to work alongside partners like Wholesome Wave Georgia to ‘Grow the Good’ in Atlanta.
“Funding SNAP Healthy Incentives would provide matching dollars to participating retailers and farmers markets for SNAP recipients to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables: this not only puts healthy food on the table for many Atlantans; but it also supports our local farmers, the economy and the health and well-being of the city that we love and call home.”
A key element to understanding the difficulty of purchasing healthy food is Wholesome Wave Georgia’s Community Healthy Food Access Coalition, a focus group of Atlanta SNAP recipients willing to share their stories and experiences trying to use SNAP for healthy food purchases.
“It’s easy to lose focus on how important it is to have access to healthy food choices in the city,” says Mike Rouse, Community Food Ambassador, Wholesome Wave Georgia. “Making fresh food affordable can have a powerful impact on a family’s health and dignity.”
Facts about Food Insecurity in Georgia:
- In Georgia, more than 1.4 million people are food insecure
- 22 percent of children are food insecure
- 8 percent of seniors are food insecure
- The average SNAP benefit is only $6.70 per person per day
- Food insecurity is linked to poverty, obesity, and other diet-related illnesses. The effect of food insecurity on America’s families is evident: Approximately 65 percent of adults and 34 percent of children (ages two to 19) are overweight or obese.
- Wholesome Wave Georgia’s programs support urban and rural farmers and have contributed more than $3.6 million since 2009.
- Every $5 spent on SNAP Incentives generates about $9 in economic activity.
- SNAP is linked with reduced health care costs. On average, low-income adults participating in SNAP incur nearly 25 percent less in medical care costs.
About the American Heart Association:
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect at heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
About Wholesome Wave Georgia:
Wholesome Wave Georgia is a statewide nonprofit that connects food-insecure Georgians with fresh healthy food choices through partnerships with local farms, markets, and community partners. We also offer free SNAP assistance in person and over the phone including screenings, enrollments, and renewals. Connect at wholesomewavega.org, 404-551-5996, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Cindy Miller, Cindy@CindyMillerCommunications.com (404) 281-9975
Joe Gorley, Joe@CindyMillerCommunications.com (678) 232-4237