Skip to main content

Willy Street Co-op to Help Food-insecure Shoppers

Through its Double Dollars program, Willy Street Co-op is providing a new way for shoppers who experience food insecurity to access fresh food more easily.

On Tuesdays through March 14 (or when grant funds run out), shoppers using their FoodShare/QUEST card to purchase groceries at the Madison, Wis.-based grocery co-op can receive up to $20 worth of Double Dollars coupons, which can be redeemed for items from the produce department in any co-op location, any day of the week.

“Food insecurity is increasing in Dane County, and a recent report shows it is impacting more than 12-percent of residents and 17.5 percent of children,” said Willy Street Co-op Communications Director Brendon Smith. “Food insecurity means being anxious about having enough food, running out of food, having to buy lower quality, and skipping meals because of the lack of food. If we can help families overcome food insecurity, we are going to do it.”

Supported by USDA Grant

When shoppers use a FoodShare/QUEST card to purchase eligible groceries on Tuesdays, for every $5 they spend, they'll receive a $5 Double Dollars coupon, up to $20 per sale. Double Dollars Tuesdays are made possible by a grant from the USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, in partnership with the city of Madison, Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin, Madison Public Health, Dane County Public Health and Wholesome Wave.

“We've received very positive feedback about the program, and in the last six weeks it has really started to pick up steam,” said Kirsten Moore, Willy Street's director of cooperative services, noting that $40,000 was allocated in the grant for co-op coupons. “So far, we have issued almost $12,000 in coupons.”

A customer who has taken advantage of the Double Dollars program recently emailed feedback to the co-op: "It's wonderful. I now have a schedule to do the bulk of my grocery shopping on Tuesdays in order to receive vouchers. And in turn, due to the vouchers, I am now eating cut-up pineapple, fresh berries and many different varieties of apples."

The co-op has been accepting FoodShare/QUEST and has offered 10 percent off through its Access Discount Program for qualified co-op owners for years, Moore noted.

“In addition to now accepting WIC at our North location,” she said, “offering Double Dollars at all locations has been a great way to express our values, helping all people have access to local and organic food, especially fresh produce.”

Since Willy Street Co-op’s inception in 1974, its owners have invested more than $2 million through Community Shares of Wisconsin. The co-op has created several innovative programs, including the Community Reinvestment Fund and a partnership with the Food Enterprise and Economic Development Kitchens Project (FEED) to improve access to local food and agricultural production.

With more than 34,000 owners and three retail locations, Willy Street Co-op is the Madison area’s largest consumer-owned neighborhood grocer offering organic, locally produced and conventional foods. 


This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds