During the 2023 Texas Legislative Session, Sustainable Food Center (SFC) led a successful community-driven campaign to advocate for funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentives, like Double Up Food Bucks Texas. On June 19, 2023, the State of Texas approved the appropriation of $6 million in grant funding to SNAP incentive programs that provide recipients a dollar-for-dollar match to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Learn more about this momentous legislative campaign.
CAMPAIGN VICTORY: State of Texas Appropriates $6 Million in Grant Funding to SNAP Incentive Programs like Double Up Food Bucks Texas
Simone Benz, Director of Policy and Advocacy
A Letter from SFC Policy and Advocacy Director, Simone Benz
During the 2023 Texas Legislative Session, Sustainable Food Center (SFC) led a community-driven campaign to advocate for funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentives, like Double Up Food Bucks Texas.
On June 19, 2023, the State of Texas approved the appropriation of $6 million in grant funding to SNAP incentive programs that provide recipients a dollar-for-dollar match to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. With the increased state funding, SNAP incentive programs can expand to more locations across Texas, with a particular focus on historically marginalized rural communities.
With four million Texas households experiencing food insecurity and the end of SNAP emergency allotments in February 2023, access to fresh food moves increasingly out of reach. Fortunately, programs like Double Up Food Bucks Texas utilize the power of SNAP to bring families more nutritious food, while supporting local farm businesses throughout our state.
For over a decade, SFC has built and expanded the Double Up Food Bucks Texas coalition through deep partnerships, community engagement, and outreach. Since 2019, they have received three rounds of funding from the USDA Gus Schumer Nutrition Incentive Program (USDA GusNIP) grant. Thanks to the USDA GusNIP grant, the support of multiple funding partners like the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and the deep trust and collaboration with regional partners, Double Up Food Bucks Texas has over 50 active sites across the state including El Paso, Dallas - Fort Worth, Brownsville, Lubbock, and beyond.
With additional sites in the pipeline, the Double Up Food Bucks Texas coalition identified a barrier in its funding structure. Federal funding for SNAP incentive programs, like Double Up Food Bucks, requires a 50% funding match, making it challenging for large and diverse states like Texas to establish a true statewide program. By increasing dedicated state funding to SNAP incentives, programs like Double Up Food Bucks Texas could meet the match requirements, and expand to serve more communities across our state.
SFC spearheaded the campaign to advocate for the State of Texas to appropriate $6 million in grant funding to SNAP incentive programs, aiming to close the funding gap. Throughout this campaign, individuals who benefit from Double Up Food Bucks shared their personal stories about how this program has impacted their lives. Farmers sent letters to their representatives, illustrating how Double Up Food Bucks helps their farm businesses thrive. Community partner organizations, like Brownsville Wellness Coalition and Desert Spoon Food Hub, voiced their support for increased funding at the Texas State Capitol. Through dedicated advocacy and community engagement efforts, our coalition achieved its goal.
With this victory, SFC remains committed to being guided and informed by the communities we serve and our growing network of partners. We are thrilled and honored to work in partnership with organizations across the state to ensure the success of Double Up Food Bucks Texas for families, farmers, and local communities.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to our partners, especially the Center for Science in the Public Interest; American Heart Association, Texas; Partnership for Healthy Texas; Colyandro Public Affairs; Brownsville Wellness Coalition; Desert Spoon Food Hub; Texas Food Policy Roundtable Partners; and farmers and farmers markets across Texas, for their instrumental support throughout the campaign. We look forward to collaborating with our partners in the Double Up Texas coalition and with Texas Health and Human Services to ensure that these funds have a maximum impact on Texas families and farmers.