MISSOULA – The Market in the University Center on the University of Montana campus will now accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for program-accepted items around its store.
The Corner Store in the Lomasson Center has already been accepting SNAP benefits on the other side of campus from the UC Market, but the Market was difficult to get approved for SNAP benefits because of its status as an auxiliary department of the state inside UM dining services, and not technically a business.
Most businesses that apply to be able to accept SNAP benefits have business licenses, but The Market does not because it operates inside a state-run institution.
Now the department has its license and will begin to prepare Market employees on the in’s and out’s of SNAP benefits at the registers.
“We’ve been developing some staff training,” said UM Dining’s Director of Sustainability Trevor Lowell. “One of the ongoing things that we are really going to be focused on is making sure that we preserve the dignity of that shopping experience for SNAP customers. We are very fortunate to employ a lot of student employees but there is a high rate of turnover. Often times they aren’t with us for very long, so making sure that we are really staying on that training and making our cashiers very knowledgeable about how SNAP works and how to preserve the dignity of that experience for SNAP customers.”
Many college students are eligible for SNAP benefits and aren’t even aware of it. If you would like to find out if you are eligible you can go online or call 1-888-706-1535.