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Successful opening day of new fund matching program at Pittsburg - KOAM TV 7

Successful opening day of new fund matching program at Pittsburg Farmer's Market

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS - According to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, Crawford County is named the poorest in the state of Kansas.

A new program, which began today at the Pittsburg Farmer's Market, aims to assist lower income individuals in being able to afford healthy food options.

Many took advantage of the opportunity this morning.

Wanita Smith of Girard, KS visits the Pittsburg Farmer's Market twice a month, spending on average $20 each visit.

Thanks to the new Market Match program, Smith can now use food stamps at the market, and receive double her dollar's worth.

"I'm so excited," Smith said. "It's wonderful. You can get twice as much, which really helps me because I'm very limited on funds."

The Market Match program began in Douglas County, with two market locations in Lawrence, KS last year.

Due to having extra funds this year, Douglas County extended $2,000 to the Pittsburg Farmer's Market.

Anyone receiving food assistance can have up to $25 matched at the market on Saturdays.

"If they came each Saturday of the month, they would actually increase their food budget by up to $100," said Jill Campbell, board president for the Pittsburg Farmer's Market.

"I'm low income," said Martha Troutman, Pittsburg resident. "I'm a college student right now, so it's a really good opportunity to eat healthier and take advantage of the fresh produce that's in season."

"It's fresh produce right out of the garden, and I was raised on that," said Monica Hatfield, Pittsburg resident.

The program is also expected to benefit the 21 local vendors at the market, by increasing their number of customers.

"It's a very positive thing," said Jeremy Johnson, Pittsburg city commissioner. "I don't think it will have any problem being a successful program."

The program will continue each Saturday until the $2,000 in funding runs out.

Many are already planning to claim their matched funds as soon as possible.

"I'll be back next week," Hatfield said.

"Oh yes, I will be back every week," Smith said.

Although the Pittsburg Farmer's Market is also open on Wednesdays, the Market Match program is only available on Saturdays at this time.

Other markets that have received funding from Douglas County this year include Atchinson, Iola, and Manhattan.
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