EBT available at Farmer’s Market
Family live entertainment, animal ambassadors, face painting and special children activities are only a few of the August attractions at the El Cajon Farmer’s Market Summer Harvest Family Festival.
Add this to the market’s array of hot food, specialty vendors and farm-fresh produce, the market is expanding its services to include EBT (formally Food Stamps) transactions and for a limited time the Cal Fresh Fund program.
Kicking off Summer Harvest on Thursday, there are special additions to the market every Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. through the end of August.
Every hour the International Rescue Committee (IRC) raffles off market tickets. Each vendor has tickets and gives to customers at purchase and the winners receive an additional $10 worth of market spending money.
Ralph Achenbach, IRC food security and community health inspector said bringing the use of EBT to the market serves a number of purposes in benefitting the community.
“We wanted to give it a boost in August,” he said. “It all ties back to the history of El Cajon as the valley of opportunity and its agricultural roots. It brings the community together, helps cross cultural boundaries and something that El Cajonians can be proud of as an economic engine in the area.”
At the market information booth, customers swipe their EBT cards in exchange for market tokens that they then spend with vendors. IRC is partnered with Cal Fresh where community members receive a dollar for dollar match for a limited period of time for every dollar they spend to spend at the market.
“For the poorer community, the food budget is the first expense squeezed in rough economic times. That program helps stretch their food dollars,” said Achenbach.
He said he looks forward to the market growing for the community, by the community and is a strong asset to the community.
“Our hope is that this will expand to the farmer’s market use by local restaurants to help ensure that the dollars stay in the community,” he said.
IRC is an international aid agency that gives support in more than 40 countries worldwide. It settled in San Diego in 1975 and has an office in El Cajon. Each year the government accepts about 70,000 refugees from around the world and it provides some of the core resettlement services. As more refugees have settled in El Cajon, it has expanded its services.
“IRC was founded to provide meaningful support to a vulnerable population, it is fruitful to support the entire community to which they are resettled. The Farmer’s Market is very much part of that thinking,” said Achenbach.