Saratoga Farmers’ Market helps the hungry

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is reaching out to serve the community. The market now accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards issued by the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, just as it takes credit and debit cards. After a swipe of the card, an EBT customer can receive wooden market tokens to be spent at any vendor there. Through November 15, for every $5 in market tokens bought with EBT, the cardholder will get an additional $2 Fresh Connect coupon to use for fresh food purchases.

Throughout the year, the market ensures fresh food is available to as many people as possible. Many of the market vendors regularly make product donations to food pantries, as well as contributing to a weekly collection of items delivered to the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) food pantry. During the summer season, the market invites customers to donate extra home garden produce to be given away to those in need.

This fall, the farmers’ market teamed up with the Saratoga EOC and a new therapeutic massage business, Bodyworks Professionals, to raise more than $200 in customer donations for EOC’s food pantry and soup kitchen clients. Bodyworks, which recently opened in Franklin Square, provided chair massages at the market, seeking only donations as compensation. Market staff used these donations to buy market gift certificates, which were passed on to the EOC for spending on market products for the soup kitchen and food pantry.

“We were really pleased with this collaboration to benefit EOC’s clients and to help a new business gain some exposure,” said Suzanne Carreker-Voigt, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market coordinator, who oversaw the effort. “EOC in turn helps the market by buying fresh food from our farmers and then serves these nutritious products to its clients. Everybody wins in this arrangement.”

The Saratoga Farmers' Market is open from November to April at Division Street Elementary School in Saratoga Springs, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More than 30 farmers and vendors sell a range of locally grown and produced items, including food, flowers, and handcrafts. See more information at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org.

Three local organizations collaborated on a fundraising program this fall, resulting in farm-fresh food for EOC’s food pantry and soup kitchen clients. Shown here from left to right are Mikki Bakken, EOC Saratoga community services advocate;  Karie Lindenman from Bodyworks Professionals; and Suzanne Carreker-Voigt, Saratoga Farmers' Market coordinator.


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