BY RICK KAZMER
United Way of the Laurel Highlands
A pilot program debuting Aug. 5 at the Downtown Johnstown Farmer’s Market is a win for local farmers, as well as for community members using SNAP benefits, formerly called food stamps.
SNAP at the Market is a collaboration of the City of Johnstown, United Way of the Laurel Highlands, the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Participating vendors will be able to sell their fresh, locally grown produce to a broader customer base. In addition to SNAP, the program allows for the use of debit and credit cards. The pilot’s organizers have acquired technology needed to make purchases easy, safe and accountable.
Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center students have utilized their 3D printing skills to make unique tokens that will help facilitate purchases. This is truly a community project geared to improve nutrition in the community by leveraging the region’s supply of fresh foods.
In its first day, the program resulted in nearly $450 in new sales.
For more information, go to uwlaurel.org/SNAP.