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St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market launches new SNAP benefit matching program

Eligible customers can buy twice as much food at the market when they pay with their SNAP card.
Luke Talalaj of Worden Farms arranges a box of preordered produce at the retooled Saturday Morning Market on March 21 in St. Petersburg.
Luke Talalaj of Worden Farms arranges a box of preordered produce at the retooled Saturday Morning Market on March 21 in St. Petersburg. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]
Published Dec. 22, 2020

With food insecurity skyrocketing in the Tampa Bay area, many more people are trying to figure out how to feed their families this year. But there’s some good news for SNAP participants as the holidays approach.

St. Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market has announced a new one-to-one matching program for all SNAP beneficiaries. It will match any amount of money customers deduct from their SNAP cards, giving them twice as many tokens to use on food at the farmer’s market.

“You can take 10 off your card and get $10 more from me, or you can $150 off your card and get $150 of incentives,” said market director Gail Eggeman.

The program is made possible thanks to a partnership with Feeding Florida, Eggeman said. Customers will be able to buy fresh produce from the market’s eight organic or organically grown veggie farmers, as well as SNAP-eligible baked goods, coffee beans, cheeses, herbs and more.

“Farm food is generally more expensive than what you find at Publix sometimes,” Eggeman said. “What we’re going for is affordable good food.”

Saturday Morning Market customers have been able to use SNAP benefits since 2010. In the past, the market offered a SNAP match of up to $40.

The new match program will be in place until April 30. However, the market tokens purchased and matched during this time never expire.

The pandemic caused the Saturday Morning Market to adopt an online model in March, allowing customers to order food from vendors online and pick them up on Saturday mornings. It reopened for in-person shopping in November, requiring all customers and vendors to wear masks.

If you go

The Saturday Morning Market takes place in downtown St. Petersburg at First Ave. S and First St. SE from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through the end of May. Eating and drinking is allowed only in a designated area outside of the market. saturdaymorningmarket.com.