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How a grocery run can help struggling families

Whole Foods 5% Day to benefit Wholesome Wave Georgia

You’ve been saying that you want to eat better in 2013. And that you've been meaning to do more to support worthwhile causes. Next Wednesday you can do both—just by going grocery shopping.

On Jan. 9, Whole Foods Market will donate 5 percent of the proceeds from its Atlanta stores to Wholesome Wave Georgia, an organization that helps low-income shoppers access high-quality, locally grown food.

The organization, which will become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit this year, uses private donations to double the buying power of low-income shoppers at designated farmers markets. Candidates use their state and federal nutrition benefits (once known as food stamps) to purchase market tokens at half price. Wholesome Wave pays for the other half.

“It makes fresh, local, healthy food affordable for families who are at risk,” says Judith Winfrey who, with Restaurant Eugene co-owner Gina Hopkins, launched Wholesome Wave Georgia in 2009. “They get to participate in that wonderful community that is a farmers market, and that’s great especially for children. It’s really forming a part of their life experience and their expectations about food, and I think that’s really powerful.”

In its first year of operation, the organization doubled the buying power of about $6,000 from nutrition assistance programs. This year, it anticipates doubling about $125,000 at a minimum of 14 participating farmers markets, including Decatur, East Atlanta, East Lake, Grant Park, Peachtree Road, SWOOM, and Truly Living Well. The money not only helps families struggling to put food on the table, but it also helps support farmers, Winfrey says. “$125,000 doubled is $250,000 into the pockets of local farmers.”

So next Wednesday, do your part to help. Stop by the Whole Foods on West Paces Ferry, Ponce de Leon or Briarcliff and do your regular shopping. You’ll be helping area families connect with local farmers and purchase fresh, healthy food.

Spread the word Tell your friends about Whole Foods 5% Day for Wholesome Wave Georgia! Take a picture of your shopping list and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr. Caption your photo using the hash tag #goodgroceries.