project leader
Todd B
34 N Balph Ave
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the project

We live in an economically diverse region that was especially hard-hit by the pandemic. Food insecurity is an unfortunate local reality, which recently encouraged our school district to start providing free meals to all students.

After our experiencences last year preparing and delivering meals for our neighbers facing pandemic-related and long-term food insecurity, we continued to want to aid those in need in our community by expanding their buying power at our market. Previously, we were only able to offer two sources of support: governmental food assistance (SNAP) and limited matching through an organization called Just Harvest, which provided 40 cents on the dollar.

Starting in 2020, we created our own match so that every $1 of food assistance resulted in $3 in buying power at the market. This program was a tremendous success; in total, the market was able to provide more than $8,500 in direct financial support to neighbors with severe food insecurity while directly supporting the efforts of local farmers. Given the progressive adoption of the program, a pandemic-truncated prior market season, persistent economic struggles, and word getting out about the project, we anticipate needing more than $15,000 to fund this program in 2021. 

The farmers market works hard to minimize the stigma of our shoppers using the food assistance program -- for example, volunteers help mediate the secondary transaction necessary to reimburse shoppers without asking them to visit each vendor twice. Our work is imbued with dignity and respect for food-insecure recipients because the entire board lives in the 15202 area code and we consider each of the 10,122 eligible families our neighbors. 

the steps

Our market runs each Wednesday afternoon from 3-7 PM at Bayne Park in Bellevue Borough. At each market, participants in food assitance programs are able to shop the market, buying fresh and local produce, breads, oils and sauces. When they are completing their purchase, they only need to provide one-third of the value of their goods in the form of the assitance funds. The rest is provided as a direct match via this fund. The full dollar value of the purchases goes directly to the local farmers and vendors, keeping the money in the community.

why we're doing it

The Bellevue Farmers Market has always worked to make food accessibility a priority for our neighbors, but we were compelled to become more than a farmers market to meet those needs amid the pandemic. In 2020, we leveraged significant grants from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments to create the Feeding Neighbors Program. This effort, powered by more than 200 volunteers, delivered over 30,000 prepared meals to more than 250 families in our neighborhood from March to July of 2020, which we detailed in a documentary.



In 2017, the Market began accepting Food Assistance (SNAP funds - previously known as "food stamps"). That same year, we developed a relationship with an organization called Just Harvest. This foundation provides a $5 match for every $2 a SNAP spends at the market on fresh produce.

In 2020, participants in food assistance programs (SNAP, WIC, Pandemic - EBT, etc) spent $3,000 in those funds at the market. Just Harvest was able to match a portion of that. The Market, through funding remaining from our Feeding Neighbors meal delivery program was able to increase that match, so that customers were now receiving $2 in matching funds for every $1 of assistance funds. The market's cost to do so was nearly $9,000.

In 2021, we expect the level of need to increase due to multiple factors. First, due to the success of the program last year, we anticpate word-of-mouth referrals and pent-up demand for the market to increase our overall traffic. Second, with pandemic restrictions lifting, we will be able to run a market from June-October (last year, we did not begin until mid-July). We anticipate that this year to provide a similar match thoughout the entire season will require over $16,000.

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  



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