A new hunger relief project in the Twin Cities is giving low income families free benefit cards they can use to purchase produce.
Organizers say the Healthy Savings cards will supplement food for struggling families and make it easier to find fresh fruits and vegetables, which are often absent or limited at food shelves.
The program also is educational, said Amy Lopez, community impact manager for the Greater Twin Cities United Way, one of the organizations participating in the project.
"The other purpose of this particular Healthy Savings program is to really educate families on the benefits of accessing and consuming healthier foods, and the benefits specifically to the health and well-being of their families," Lopez said.
More than 100 low income families in the Twin Cities will begin testing out the produce benefit cards this week at participating Cub, Rainbow, Byerly's or Lunds stores.
Lopez said hunger relief groups are trying to determine if families will use the free cards and if helping them buy food would make them more willing to make healthier choices.
Families can buy up to $10 worth of produce a week for a total of 12 weeks. They will also qualify for produce discounts.