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Blue Cross NC Boosts Access to Healthy Food for Triangle Residents at Area Farmers’ Markets Through “Double Bucks” Program



NEWS RELEASE

Blue Cross NC Media Line:  919-765-3005
Blue Cross NC Online Newsroom: http://mediacenter.bcbsnc.com
RAFI-USA: Janie Hynson, janie@rafiusa.org, 919-542-1396 ext. 2300 
Durham Farmers’ Market: Susan Sink, info@durhamfarmersmarket.com, 919-667-3099
 
For Immediate Release: October 29, 2019

Blue Cross NC Boosts Access to Healthy Food for Triangle Residents at Area Farmers’ Markets Through “Double Bucks” Program

Collaboration with RAFI-USA will Benefit Shoppers in Rural Areas

RALEIGH N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) announced its collaboration with the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) for the first time to fund the Double SNAP Dollars Collaborative, a partnership with six Triangle-area farmers’ markets. This initiative, sponsored by Blue Cross NC, provides matching “Double Bucks” incentives to low-income shoppers and is part of the company’s commitment to addressing food security in North Carolina by increasing access to healthy and nutritious local food.

Beginning on October 29, 2019, the “Double Bucks” program will be offered at the following markets:
  • Durham Farmers’ Market
  • South Durham Farmers’ Market
  • East Durham Market – opening March 2020
  • Carrboro Farmers’ Market
  • Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market 
  • The Eno River Farmers’ Market
Farmers’ market shoppers who receive SNAP/EBT or Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers will be able to come to the farmers’ market and have each dollar spent doubled, so that ten dollars of benefits is worth twenty dollars while shopping. Also, WIC clients and those who receive Section 8 housing vouchers will have any cash amount doubled to shop at the farmers’ market. As a result of the three-year sponsorship from Blue Cross NC, there will be no maximum cap for the “Double Bucks” matching incentives. 
 
“This is a huge boost for healthy food access to Triangle-area residents, offering an unprecedented level of dependability and consistency to those individuals who need it most,” said Reagan Greene Pruitt, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement at Blue Cross NC. “Blue Cross NC wants to help families practice and incorporate healthy eating habits into their daily lives, which can decrease the chances of developing chronic illnesses.”
 
Charlotte Minguez, Double Bucks program coordinator at RAFI-USA, said, “Eating healthy, locally grown food should be a choice that everyone has. This is an exciting step toward a healthier community and strengthening of the connection between people and the food that they eat.”
 
RAFI-USA will provide all participating markets with coordination, assistance and technical aid to implement SNAP/EBT payments. The funding from Blue Cross NC will support the health of the community by providing funding to increase food access, strengthening the local economy by supporting small farmers, and allowing participating markets to build upon pre-existing incentive programs. The funding also enables other markets across the state to offer “Double Bucks” benefits for the first time. The goal is to expand the program in its second year to cover five additional rural markets in North Carolina counties that participate in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. 

On November 2, 2019, RAFI-USA and Blue Cross NC will celebrate this collaboration at the Durham Farmers’ Market during the Twix for Tomatoes event. Families are encouraged to bring their Halloween candy to the market from 8 a.m. – noon and trade it in for gift certificates to the farmers’ market. The candy will then be re-repurposed for holiday crafts making at the Kidzu Children’s Museum. Healthy Blue (Blue Cross NC’s new Medicaid offering), will also be hosting an information booth at the event with interactive games and a face painter for kids. 
 
Eligible shoppers who are interested in the “Double Bucks” program should go to the information booth at each market to learn more and have their benefits matched.
 
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina 
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
 
About the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA
RAFl-USA’s mission is to cultivate markets, policies, and communities that sustain thriving, socially just, and environmentally sound family farms. RAFI-USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pittsboro, North Carolina and incorporated in 1990. 
 
About the Durham Farmers’ Markets
The Durham Farmers’ Market brings people together to celebrate the unique food and culture of downtown Durham and the farms that sustain it. We provide access to fresh food for all of our community, champion small farmers and artisans, and foster a thriving and participatory local economy. 
 
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