During these tough economic times, many could use some help putting fresh food on the table.

So during the month of May, those who spend $5 worth of CalFresh food stamps at the Saturday Pico Farmers’ Market will receive $5 in bonus coupons (while supplies last), said Jodi Low, a Farmers’ Market coordinator.

Vouchers can only be used on fruits, vegetables and some nuts from certified growers at the market.

For more information, visit www.dpssbenefits.lacounty.org or call (877) 597-4777.

Low said city officials chose the market in the Pico Neighborhood because it has the highest concentration of low-income families in Santa Monica.

“The goal is to educate the local population who is most at risk and eligible about CalFesh and Farmers’ Markets,” Low said.

The County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors proclaimed May 2012 as CalFresh Awareness Month in support of the state-wide effort to encourage healthy eating.

It has been estimated that only half of those eligible in Los Angeles County are reportedly receiving benefits.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of homes lacking adequate food has more than tripled in the last four years. As a result, the agency noted in a report on food insecurity that hunger negatively impacts the intellectual, physical, and emotional development of children.

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