From AP - News Headlines -

Grants Help Food Stamp Benefits Go Further at Champaign North First St. Farmers Market

People receiving food stamp benefits will soon be able to double their purchasing power at the Champaign Farmers Market.

A total of $1500 was awarded by the Lumpkin Foundation and Provena Covenant Medical Center to the market, which is held every Thursday on North First Street. The funds will allow food stamp recipients to buy up to $20 worth of food while being charged $10 on their Illinois Link Cards.

Valerie McWilliams of the North First Street Association of Champaign says there's a perception that food is more expensive at farmer's markets than at large grocery stores. She says that for people on a very limited income this can be discouraging, and the double-value program will help make fresh produce more affordable for them.

But Market Director Wendy Langacker says the program value should also boost sales at the market, and keep vendors coming back.

"The vendors who might feel that they're maybe not making as much as they would like, I think it will help add to their bottom line", says Lanaker, "which will encourage them to come back to the market, which has a long-term benefit in terms of the whole market itself."

The value program begins June 24th. The Champaign Farmer's Market is held from 3 to 7 in the police department parking lot on the corner of North First Street and University.

Categories: Government, Politics