Stretching SNAP budgets at the Historic Lewes Farmers Market

August 17, 2015

0805_lewes-photoBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator 

SNAP recipients have an opportunity to make their shopping dollars go farther at the Historic Lewes Farmers Market.

SNAP is the program formerly called food stamps, so people using an EBT card can have access to more fresh produce, dairy, baked goods, and meat sold at that market through an agreement promoted by the Food Bank of Delaware.

Here’s how it works: Anyone with an EBT card can go to the SNAP Information Table set up at the market each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon through Nov. 21. The Market will match, dollar for dollar, purchases made at the market with bonus bucks’ tokens.

Those tokens, up to $20 per person per visit, can be used to buy SNAP-eligible food at the Market; they do not expire.

Mary Conte, the Market’s SNAP coordinator, partnered with Crystal Ruiz, a SNAP Outreach Coordinator for the Food Bank of Delaware, to develop the Bonus Bucks concept in order to allow more people access to fresh foods.

“We wanted to team up with a market,” said Crystal, who noted that grant funding will pay for a Wi-Fi connection so people can even sign up for SNAP benefits at the market.

Mary admits that the program has not been as well received as she envisioned, and she has volunteered her time and effort to promote it.

“I put myself out there to spread the word, to make connections to increase our SNAP customer base. I’m reaching out to other organizations,” she said.

In the summer, the market is set up under spreading old trees on the grounds of the Lewes Historical Society, but after Oct. 3, until the end of the season, it’s held at Shields Elementary School on Savannah Road.

“It’s interesting. We actually have done better with the program in the fall, and I am not sure why,” Mary added.

The Historical Lewes Farmers Market has been recognized locally and nationally; it is a producer-only market, and the vendors are committed to encouraging SNAP participation.

For more information on the market, visit or email or call 302-644-1436. For more information on the Food Bank of Delaware, visit

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