YNDC awarded $498,880 to encourage healthy food purchases

Staff report


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $498,880 in funding to the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. to encourage Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants in the city to purchase healthy foods.

“I was proud the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. was awarded this important funding to help bring nutritious and healthy food to Youngstown families in need. SNAP is a program that works, and is deserving of more support,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th. “This funding will provide incentives for people to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and help provide farmers with a local market to sell their products. Healthy foods should be available to every one of our children, and I promise to continue to use my position to fight to ensure that we are not leaving anyone behind.”

The money was awarded as a part of a larger $16.8 million investment by the USDA to be distributed through 32 grants to help SNAP participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables.

The funding comes through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill that U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Cleveland, D-Ohio, helped negotiate.

“This project, entitled Eating for Health in the Mahoning Valley, will increase food access in the Mahoning Valley by broadening funding to help SNAP/EBT customers purchase fresh produce at six farmers markets and local food outlets and will also expand the Mercy Health Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program,” said Liberty Avila, YNDC land reuse director. “The four-year project is being significantly supported by Mercy Health Foundation and includes [more than] 15 project partners working together to support families while increasing revenues to local farmers.”

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