As part of our advocacy for healthier food options in Oklahoma, the American Heart Association joined other members of the Lift Oklahoma Communities, Agriculture and Lifestyles (LOCAL) Coalition, as well as two state legislators, at the Homeland grocery store in Okemah.
The store is one of several in the state to implement Double Up Oklahoma (DUO), a nutrition incentive program operated by Hunger Free Oklahoma.
DUO encourages the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. When customers make a purchase with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card at the Okemah Homeland store, or other participating stores and farmers markets across the state, those purchases are matched, dollar for dollar, up to $20 per day, with DUO Bucks redeemable on fresh produce.
Anyone receiving SNAP benefits is automatically eligible for DUO, and no additional application is required. SNAP participants may simply shop with their SNAP/Oklahoma EBT card at participating stores to earn DUO Bucks. SNAP participants can use DUO Bucks to buy fresh fruits and vegetables on their next shopping trip.
The LOCAL Coalition is looking for ways to expand the DUO program across the state through a stronger public/private partnership. State Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah and state Rep. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds visited the Homeland store to observe how DUO works.
Thompson, the Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, said the DUO program is an effective way to encourage families to buy more healthy options.
“Not only is this good for families struggling to make ends meet, but it also helps our local community by expanding the variety of fresh produce available to all shoppers,” Thompson said. “I am impressed with how the program works to boost the local economy and support local business. I look forward to finding ways to support Double Up Oklahoma.”
Phillips added, “Anything we can do to help local agricultural producers, local businesses, and our families is a ‘win-win-win’ for our state and the economy. Finding ways to boost and support this program will be on my priority list for next session.”
The LOCAL Coalition will continue to hold tours of participating stores and farmers markets across the state to help raise awareness of the success of this program. SNAP participants interested in the DUO program can find locations and information about the program at www.DoubleUpOklahoma.org.