Help Spread the Word About Double Up Food Bucks, A New Program to Help SNAP Recipients Purchase More Fruits and Vegetables!
July Update: The Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) has launched at the French Broad Food Coop!  Bountiful Cities was awarded funding from the WNC

Community Foundation for this pilot to increase access to fruits and
vegetables for SNAP recipients.  The DUFB program awards a dollar for each SNAP dollar used to purchase locally grown produce. These dollars can then be spent to purchase 
any other fruit and veggies purchased from the same establishment.
The program had a soft roll-out in late June to insure their were no difficulties with the technology and logistics before it is broadly promoted. After only 3 weeks the program is running very smoothly.  And despite only word-of-mouth promotion, 86 individuals have signed up, well beyond what was expected at this point. The waiver process from the USDA is well-underway and we anticipate the West Village Market.to come on board as the second market in the next few weeks.
MountainWise, a non-profit serving the counties west of Buncombe, will be the lead agency in this effort as DUFB expands initially into Haywood County.
Our 2017 pilot is a scaleable effort to develop a successful model in WNC in preparation for submitting a USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Initiative (FINI) grant in 2018 to expand to more retail outlets in Buncombe and surrounding counties. Eventually this is expected to be a statewide initiative and conversations are underway with Durham and Wilmington.
The USDA assures us they are finalizing our waiver application (required to allow any organization to provide incentives for SNAP programs). We expect a soft launch of the program will take place in early-mid June pending that approval, to ensure all software and other technical and logistically elements are working well.  A full community roll-out will happen about 2 weeks later.
The Ask for July:
We continue to need you to help us identify volunteers to serve as Double Up Liaisons.  These volunteers should be SNAP recipients and individuals who need 20 volunteer hours a week to maintain their SNAP eligibility.  Take a look at the Double Up Volunteer flyer,  print it off, and share it with individuals that might be a good fit for this opportunity.
We also welcome you to begin letting individuals know about the program and how they can participate. Click here to download a flyer to share.  The plan is to begin larger outreach efforts as soon as the West Village Market location launches. 
 For more information on the Double Up program, take a look at this article written by the Mountain Xpress! 

Hands On Asheville School Supply Drive
We are already halfway through our annual summer School Supply Drive, where we collect school supplies for kids whose families may struggle to afford everything that these kids need to begin a successful school year.
This year, we’ve ramped things up and set our hopes and goals even higher than last year. We plan to send a full 2000 students back to school with everything they need for a successful school year. We still need all the help we can get, however, and there is still plenty of time for you to get involved.
If you visit www.roonga.com/uwabcssd, you will find our easy-to-navigate online drive, allowing you to simply purchase the items you wish to donate, without ever having to go to the store. Everything that has gone through Roonga will be delivered to our office and we will sort and pack and take it from there! 
If you want to take the decision-making out of it and have us purchase the supplies instead, consider a cash donation, done through this link. Every little bit helps!
Visit handsonasheville.org/schoolsupplydrive to learn more about the School Supply Drive, and if you have questions or want any kind of additional information, please do reach out to us—we are happy to help. The drive ends July 28th so don’t wait too long to get started!
Be Part of Open Streets Asheville 2017!
Please consider having your organization at the table as we promote a healthy Buncombe County through play, physical activity and building community
Our Sunday afternoon inaugural 2016 Open Streets Asheville hosted 1500 in a 1 1/2 mile car-free park-like setting on downtown streets filled with neighbors, movement and community offerings from 50+ businesses and organizations. Participants experienced everything from yoga, dance, bicycle skills education, four square, soccer, pop-up cardboard playgrounds to creating murals and listening to music. Businesses offered special promotions, expanded into the street or hosted engaging activities such as knitting circles or creating a stamped leather bracelet for the price of 10 jumping jacks. 
July Upate: We have an exciting new downtown route for this year and planning teams are being formed. If you would like to be involved, please contact terri.march@mahec.net. 
Local Advocacy Efforts to support early childhood care and learning
Children First CIS of Buncombe County and the YWCA of Asheville are involved in efforts to support to increase investments in early childhood care and learning in WNC. The evidence from brain, developmental, and economic research is clear that investing in early childhood pays big dividends for an individual's and community's future.
NC Legislature has recognized the need to raise child care subsidy payments to help cover more of the costs of providing high-quality care. In the past few years, that was welcomed news for some NC parents and childcare providers. Unfortunately, the increase didn't apply to all counties.  This year, they are considering a bill that would raise the rates for 3-5 year-olds for the remaining 20 counties including Buncombe, Haywood, and Henderson.  
Click here to learn more about these efforts. 

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