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2nd Street Market accepting SNAP benefits, aims to be place 'where everybody feels welcome'

2nd Street Market, pictured May 2024, with vendors selling plants under tents outside the building
Five Rivers MetroParks
2nd Street Market, pictured May 2024, accepts SNAP benefits.

Shoppers at 2nd Street Market can use SNAP food aid benefits at most of the booths selling fresh produce and groceries.

The market in downtown Dayton opened its outdoor farmers market on May 4. Open now through the end of October, the outdoor market offers an expanded selection of fresh produce and artisanal goods.

"We're trying to be that place where everybody feels welcome.”

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), is a federal program that helps low-income families supplement their grocery budget in order to afford healthier, nutritious foods.

The 2nd Street Market began accepting SNAP in 2017 through a partnership with Homefull, a nonprofit working to end homelessness.

After Homefull turned its focus last year to building its own grocery store, the market started operating its own programs, said Lynda Suda, the public market manager for 2nd Street Market.

According to Suda, the Five Rivers MetroPark's mission is not only conservation but also diversity, equity and inclusion, and providing healthy food.

"So food access programs is really it's really important to us,” she said.

The market now offers a number of incentive programs including Produce Perks which offers SNAP benefit users up to $25 a day in tokens for buying produce.

After years of offering its Senior Market coupon program, the market also looking to continue the program for shoppers.

SNAP benefits are a win-win for both families, who get access to produce, and farmers, who find new customers through the program, according to Suda.

“It also helps to make sure that we're in a very diverse market. We're appealing to a wide range of economic, racial and cultural," Suda said. "We're trying to be that place where everybody feels welcome.”

In addition to opening its Farmers Market and extending SNAP benefits through the season, the Market is opening up to the public on the second Thursday of every other month for a special, themed event, Suda said.

"We just had a more recent one, it was kind of a sustainability focus. Each one is going to have its own theme, something unique to bring people down. And that was a really successful night. And we're hoping that all the rest of them will be too," she said.

The next one in June focuses on how to create inclusive community.

For more information about upcoming events and programs at 2nd Street Market, visit metroparks.org.

Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.