Federal Grant Provides Free EBT Terminals and Technical Assistance

Posted on Aug 6, 2014 in NEWS

With grant support from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) has expanded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) access to Farmers’ Markets throughout the State.  The $57,000 Farmers’ Market Equipment Grant provides funding for free Electronic Benefit Terminals (EBT) and technical assistance to market managers interested in acquiring new EBT point-of-sale devices.

The DHS has partnered with the Hawaii Departments of Agriculture (DOA) and Health (DOH) to promote the free equipment to local growers and community organizations.  Technical assistance to community market managers is provided through the USDA MarkeLink website.

Expanded outreach has been focused in low-income neighborhoods on Oahu and Hawaii Island.  Preliminary results indicate the market equipment grant is generating a significant return on investments:
·    In the first six months of 2014, there were 53 Hawaii markets authorized for SNAP, representing a 194 % increase from the previous year; and
·    In the first six months of 2014, more than $570,000 in SNAP benefits were redeemed in Hawaii
·    Every $5.00 in SNAP benefits generates $9.00 in community spending.

Additionally, the DHS is collaborating with the DOH SNAP-Ed funded Live-Better-Together program to increase access to SNAP/EBT at public farmers’ markets in Honolulu;  the DOH SNAP-Ed program to launch and target a social media campaign in the Kalihi area of Oahu to promote fruit and vegetable purchases at farmers’ markets;  and Hawaii Island Farmers’ Markets to promote EBT use across that island community.
In collaboration with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation, and other members of the collaborative, the DHS has already established EBT device access at four separate people’s open markets on Oahu.

In February 2014, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) awarded Hawaii a $724,134 bonus for the most improved SNAP Program Access Index (PAI) in the United States.  The PAI Index measures the average number of low-income persons, at or below 125% of the federal poverty line, who receive SNAP benefits.  Approximately 193,392 Hawaii participants received SNAP benefits in June 2014.

To learn more about the Hawaii SNAP and EBT programs, visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/bessd/snap.  To apply for an EBT Point of Service call (808) 586-5739 or email [email protected].