Two new Willy Street Co-op programs provide more access to fresh fruit and vegetables

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By Kirsten Moore and Brendon Smith
Willy Street Co-op

Double Dollars
Double Dollars help those using FoodShare/QUEST purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables. In the summer and early fall, Double Dollars vouchers are available at many local farmers markets, including the Northside Farmers Market. Willy Street Co-op created a pilot program this year to offer Double Dollars on Tuesdays from Oct. 23, 2016, through March 14 of this year. On those days, any shopper using a FoodShare/QUEST card to purchase groceries was eligible to receive up to $20 worth of Double Dollars coupons to use on future shopping trips. We went through the available funds for the program and considered it such a success that we started brainstorming how to continue it.

Starting April 3, we will accept cash donations to a Double Dollars Fund at all locations in $1, $5, $10 and $25 increments. Those donations will go to Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, who will fund Double Dollars at participating farmers markets and at the Co-op (the Co-op’s Double Dollars coupons will return this fall). Plus, for each paper bag a customer brings in to carry their groceries home, we’ll add 5 cents to the Double Dollars Fund; we’ll add 10 cents for each fabric or plastic reusable bag. See willystreet.coop for details.

Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program
Willy Street Co-op has partnered with UW Health Northeast Family Medical Center, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin’s HungerCare Coalition, and Public Health Madison & Dane County to offer another program.

The program is designed to help approximately 185 patients at UW Health Northeast Family Medical Center become Willy Street Co-op Owners and purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables if health care providers determine that food security is a concern for the patient. Food security means a person has reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Program participants receive coupons worth up to $124. Participation has far exceeded expectations and, as of this writing, the program isn’t able to accept any more participants. We hope to bring back the program again in the future.

Just a reminder
You don’t have to be a member to shop at Willy Street Co-op — everyone is welcome. Come in and check us out. Anyone can shop and you can join to save. You can become a Co-op Owner today for just $10, or as low as $4 if you’re eligible for certain kinds of financial assistance. Stop by our customer service desk in the store, call 709-5445 or go to our website, willystreet.coop. We’re located at 2817 N. Sherman Ave. in Northside TownCenter and open 7:30 am‒9:30 pm daily.