Tamworth, NH (Written By, Sheldon Perry) – At its recent annual meeting, the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) presented the Tamworth Farmer’s Market’s “Double Your Dollars SNAP Program” the Award of Excellence as a project of proven success in serving the public good within its community.
In May of 2015, the Tamworth Farmer’s Market (TFM) implemented the Double Your Dollars SNAP Program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, is a federally run program. This local augmentation to the SNAP program, which benefits the low-income members of our community, has the goal of making local, healthy food more accessible to those least able to afford it.
The program works as follows: A SNAP customer comes to the TFM and swipes their SNAP card at a central terminal. If that person chooses to withdraw $20 from their card, for example, the program gives them $40 worth of tokens to spend for SNAP-eligible items at the market, enabling the purchase of their food at half the cost.
Now in its second year, the TFM has received a grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation for the purpose of hiring an outreach coordinator to make the low-income citizens of our region more aware of this program. Also, the TFM has just received a grant from the NH Food Bank, called Granite State Market Match, which will allow the market to give the SNAP recipients a $10 coupon towards fruits and vegetables — in addition to their doubled dollars.
The second Award of Excellence was presented to the Tamworth Economic Development Committee (TEDC). The 2008 Tamworth Master Plan, as developed by the Tamworth Planning Board, made clear the need for an organization that would make concrete advancements towards the economic vitality of both Tamworth and the region. Under the leadership of Patricia Farley, the TEDC quickly facilitated the creation of a town website and a local internet service. Other TEDC events have served existing local business and helped to promote new business.
The accomplishments of this committee continue to be significant, offering forums in entrepreneurship, business plan writing, information for the agricultural community and most recently, a successful Career Day- pairing those employers who would be willing to train and hire people who are unemployed, under-employed or who might be looking for a new direction in their career. The committee’s awareness of the damaging impact of economic stress due to the lack of employment and low wages is profound.