Saranac Lake winter market now accepting SNAP
SARANAC LAKE — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are now being accepted at the Saranac Lake Farmers’ Park-It, a curbside, order-ahead pickup model, through May 28.
SNAP is a federal program that provides low-income families with funds to purchase groceries. Since most vendors aren’t equipped to individually process EBT cards, a market-wide exchange program is required. This is the first year SNAP has been available through the winter and to pay for online-orders through Park-it.
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County and AdkAction piloted this new local food access program at the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake farmers’ markets this year from May to October. Shoppers exchanged their SNAP benefits for tokens redeemable at the market. At those two markets, over $1,700 SNAP dollars were spent on local food during the summer season.
This fall, CCE and AdkAction worked together again at the Saranac Lake Indoor Farmers’ Market to provide the same program, and will continue as the market transitions to just a Park-It after the holidays. Prior to this program, SNAP benefits have not been accepted year-round at any farmers’ market in Essex County.
To redeem SNAP benefits at the Park-it, customers place their orders online by Thursday evening and visit the CCE volunteer running SNAP exchange when they go to pick-up their order on Saturday. From there, the customer’s EBT card is charged for the amount of their purchases. If customers wish to purchase food, without ordering ahead, and there are vendors able to accommodate that, they will receive $1 tokens for the amount they charge their EBT card. These tokens can be redeemed on all SNAP-eligible foods. Any unused tokens can be used throughout the duration of both the summer and winter Saranac Lake markets and do not expire.
Customers can also take advantage of Double Up Food Bucks, a matching program that doubles all SNAP transactions up to $20 for the purchase of fruits and vegetables.
Park-it runs weekly on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon through May 28, 2022. Orders can be picked up behind the Hotel Saranac on Academy Street.