Double Up in Flint

We’re growing Double Up in Flint to help more children and families get more healthy food, precisely when they need it most.

One of the best ways we can support Flint in the wake of the water crisis and for years to come is to ensure good nutrition for the city’s children.

We have expanded and enhanced our Double Up Food Bucks program in Flint to reach more children and families with the healthy foods needed to help limit lead absorption stemming from the city’s water crisis.

From Dr. Mona who sounded the alarm about elevated blood lead levels among Flint’s children to local hip-hop artist Mama Sol, hear directly from Flint residents and local partners about this work.

Double Up is not new to Flint.

The SNAP incentive program launched at the Flint Farmers’ Market in 2011 and expanded to two locally owned Landmark grocery stores in 2015. The communities’ use of the program was one of the strongest in the state: In 2015, more than 3,000 shoppers spent more than $100,000 in Double Up Food Bucks at the Flint Farmers’ Market. This is more Double Up dollars redeemed at the Flint market than at any other market in the state. And a participating Landmark grocery stores – where more than 80% of store sales are with SNAP benefits – store owners had to double the amount of fruits and vegetables they carried to keep up with customer demand.

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“In Flint, Double Up has gone from being a really smart idea, to being an absolute necessity.”

– Dan Kildee
United States Congressman
Michigan’s 5th District

Starting in June 2016, we rolled out the following changes to best meet the needs of the community at this time.

Here’s how Double Up works in Flint: 

  • All participating sites operate year-round.
  • Any fruit, vegetable, or milk purchase earns matching Double Up Food Bucks that can be spent on any additional fresh fruits or vegetables.
  • New transaction technology is allowing Double Up users to carry their benefits between participating sites – meaning you can earn Double Up benefits at the grocery store and spend them at the grocery store or vice versa. This is the first time benefits have been electronically transferrable between different types of retail locations in any SNAP incentive program in the country. This work is being done in partnership with the Flint-based Epic Technology Solutions.
  • A dynamic communications campaign is helping spread the word including:
    • Citywide communications campaign: From billboards, bus ads, and direct mailers to an integrated digital campaign leveraging, we are connecting with potential shoppers online and off to grow awareness and program usage.
    • In-store marketing: Participating sites receive suites of marketing materials to bring the program to life in each retail environment. This includes banners, posters, window clings, floor stickers, and more.
    • Community Engagement: Through grassroots outreach and strong Flint partnerships, we are also meeting people where they are in the community. This includes a Flint-based outreach lead.

Finally, we are working to bring Double Up to all the places where Flint residents buy food in the community. To see a complete list of participating sites in the community visit: DoubleUpFoodBucks.org/Flint

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Initial results are promising.

We have seen an extraordinary increase in program participation. From June through the end of October 2016, we saw a 125% increase in the number of unique individuals using the program compared to the same time period in 2015.

We know this is just the beginning.

We didn’t come to Flint because of the water crisis, and we intend to stay.

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Dr. Mona

“A nutritious diet is critical not just for mitigating the effects of lead exposure, but also for supporting better health for years to come. Double Up is an important part of the long-term approach needed to support good nutrition among Flint’s children.”

– Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
Director Pediatric Public Health Initiative
Hurley Children’s Hospital, Michigan State University