Updated: Mar 15, 2019
Mount Airy, Md. . Nov. 15, 2018 | MAMSA partnered with Walmart-Mount Airy on behalf of Mount Airy Net to provide its 90 patrons MAMSFM Nutrition Buck$ vouchers redeemable at the 2018 farmers' market. Recently, MAMSA presented a check to the Net for $1,800, the remaining funds from a $3,600 Walmart Foundation Community Grant. |
When Alice Settle-Raskin, our farmers’ market master, approached Jason Garey, the Walmart-Mount Airy store manager in the early spring about applying for a Walmart Foundation Community Grant on behalf of the Mount Airy Net, he was elated. “We have a limited amount of funding this year to devote to several things, but we want to do ONE BIG THING for the community that supports us and this might just be it.”
The grant would promote hunger relief and healthy eating through providing $10 in vouchers – MAMSFM Nutrition Buck$ – per month to each of the 90 patrons within the Mount Airy Net. The patrons could use the vouchers on locally grown/produced foods found at the Mount Airy Main Street Farmers’ Market, from fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, eggs and baked goods to prepared foods and value added foods at the market.
“In addition to experiencing and preparing meals fresh with locally grown, produced foods found at the market, we wanted the Net’s patrons to be able to fully experience the market,” said Alice Settle-Raskin. The vouchers did not cover drinkable products, such as coffee, tea, lemonade or alcoholic beverages, nor did they cover any crafted items or plants.
With the assistance of Mount Airy Main Street Association’s Treasurer, Dick Swanson, in partnership with Mt. Airy Net’s Executive Director, Sue Veres, MAMSA applied for a $5,000 grant of which $3,600 was awarded.
“It was a win-win,” said Swanson. “It supported a local food bank through giving their patrons an opportunity to buy local, eat healthy and provided our local market vendors with additional income that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
“We are happy to support the community that supports us,” said Garey . “Providing our store gets the same level of community grant funding, we are all for continuing the funding for the Nutrition Buck$ program in the 2019 season.”
In addition to awarding the grant, Walmart-Mount Airy’s team of volunteers provided water at nearly every market throughout the 2018 season where attendance was up. “I was at just about every one of the markets,” said Walmart’s Susan Lee. “I was the first to sign up.” Lee lives just up the street, a couple blocks or so from the market. She loves seeing the vibe of community gathering at the market.
The voucher program was a great success. Though only half of the vouchers given out at the Mount Airy Net were actually redeemed, the remaining funds received through the grant, exactly $1,800, were presented on October 31 to Sue Veres.
“Our shelves were pretty bare throughout the summer,” conveyed Veres. “We purchased nearly $3,000 worth of food to supplement through September. The money will help us to purchase food and toiletries as needed throughout the winter.”
The need for food, toiletries and other every day essentials is needed throughout the year. The Net is always in need of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, canned fruits, canned carrots, peas and mixed vegetables and jelly.
The Net also provides energy assistance. “Throughout the cold months we are helping with fuel oil, pellets and keeping the electric on,” said Veres.