And Just Like That – SNAP!
The Wayne Farmers Market, operated by the Wayne YMCA in partnership with Wayne Township’s Department of Parks and Recreation, launched in June 2019 as part of our first round of NJHCN funding. Our first season extended into a twice monthly winter market until it was derailed by the Pandemic in 2020. When we were able to resume operation of the off-season market, we worked with our farmers to offer pre-ordered food packages with touchless pick-up at the Y, providing a lifeline to many in the community.
As we launched the seasonal market, COVID restrictions proved challenging not only for the operation of the Farmers Market, but also for the YMCA as an organization. Our plans for applying to become a SNAP Market as part of our second round of NJHCN funding were stalled and then put on the shelf to deal with pressing organizational matters and to focus on our new community food assistance program.
In 2021, we have been able to return to some activities postponed during the Pandemic including taking the steps necessary to become a SNAP certified Farmers Market. Working with our Association’s finance team, we completed the application process last spring and received approval as summer began. We continue to work with our finance team to create SOP’s that will allow us to successfully operate a SNAP market per regulations. In addition, we are speaking with managers of other SNAP certified markets in the state to learn more about their operation and best practices. We also plan to apply to be a part of the Double Bucks program.
As we work through the SNAP logistics for the market, and while the Pandemic and its economic impact lingers, we continue to support our food assistance families with shelf stable food boxes, vouchers for fresh produce and meat products, as well as a weekly free and reduced breakfast and lunches provided through the school district.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. At the Y we are proud to stand during these challenging times with our staff, volunteers, community partners and funders to support those disproportionately impacted by the Pandemic. May we all continue to persevere and thrive!
About the Grantee
The Wayne YMCA is charitable nonprofit organization that serves as the center of community and culture in Wayne Township. We are a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. At the Y, strengthening community FOR ALL is our cause.
Cohort: North 1
Funder: New Jersey Department of Health