Complete Eats Event Celebrates Access to Healthy Foods for SNAP/EBT-Eligible Individuals

Nov 08, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane Regional Health District and Safeway welcomed Complete Eats to Spokane today—a program that makes fruits and vegetables more affordable for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/EBT (formerly known as food stamps) customers.

Safeway shoppers who buy at least $10 worth of qualifying fruits and vegetables using their SNAP card and Safeway Club Card receive a coupon for $5 off their next purchase. Customers can choose from a variety of fresh, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables with no added fats, sugars or salt.

“My kids love to go shopping. They’re frequently the ones picking out the fruits and vegetables for the week,” said Tara Luedke, a Spokane resident who utilizes Complete Eats incentives. “But eating healthy on a budget isn’t easy. The Complete Eats program makes a difference for my family.”

The health district and Safeway celebrated the arrival of Complete Eats to the county by hosting a community event at the Shadle neighborhood Safeway. SNAP/EBT-eligible families were on hand to participate in several demonstrations to help stretch food dollars, including:

  • Recipe demonstration and tasting of a Berry and Mixed Green Salad that utilizes several Complete Eats-eligible ingredients including salad greens, baby spinach, strawberries and blueberries.
  • Tastings of unique fruits and vegetables, including kiwi and sweet potato.
  • Demonstrations of how much produce can be purchased with Complete Eats incentives.
  • Fun giveaways, including Complete Eats coupons, magnets, recipe cards, and free fruits and vegetables.

To be eligible to receive SNAP benefits, individuals or families must meet federal program requirements, including monthly income standards. For instance, a family of four must earn a maximum gross monthly income of $2,633 or less. In Spokane County, in 2016, there were 119,209 people who utilized SNAP monthly benefits to buy food and help make ends meet. Concerningly, the neighborhoods where these families live typically offer greater access to food sources that promote unhealthy eating.

“In many Spokane neighborhoods, people walk out their front doors and see nothing but fast food and convenience stores selling high-fat, high-sugar processed foods. Meanwhile, obesity is increasing in the county, where approximately one-third of adults are overweight,” said Dr. Bob Lutz, SRHD health officer. “This creates a disparity not only in terms of access, but also in health outcomes. Less access to fruits and vegetables lends not only to obesity, but also to an increased risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.”  

Concluded Dr. Lutz, “Increased access to healthy foods requires a comprehensive approach, including programs like Complete Eats, to address the choices available in the communities where people live.”

Complete Eats is now available at all eight Safeway locations in Spokane County and more than 160 other Safeway locations in Washington state.

“We at Safeway believe that healthy eating creates healthy communities,” said Tairsa Worman, Communications, Public Affairs manager for Safeway. “We are committed to supporting the Complete Eats program, and providing our customers with easy access to a wide variety of fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables.”

The incentives are scheduled to run for two years, or until funds run out, and are jointly supported by Safeway and Albertsons, and Washington State Department of Health’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant, awarded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More information is available on the Spokane Regional Health District website at www.srhd.org. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.