Meet Double Up Ambassador Aaron

Our Double Up Ambassadors and Engagement Coordinators help us get the word out about Double Up Food Bucks across Michigan. They’re an awesome resource at participating locations, they answer your questions when you call the Double Up hotline, and so much more.

We’re excited to introduce you to another member of this dream team, Aaron Neely. Keep reading to learn more about Aaron. And if you use Double Up in Flint, keep an eye out for Aaron at a participating store or market near you!

Why did you decide to become a Double Up Ambassador?

I decided to become an ambassador in Flint because I want to advocate for food security in my community. I want to educate people about nutrients and how it translates to health.

What do you enjoy most about being a Double Up Ambassador?

The most enjoyable part of my job is learning about how other people relate to food and think about food culturally. Since working as an ambassador, I have learned recipes, natural remedies and ingredients, and indigenous foods. Food can tell many traditional stories.

What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Before starting this job, I didn’t have a variety of fresh fruits, so my favorites were strawberries and blueberries. In the last year my new favorite has become jackfruit, dragon fruit, and mangos. I like green leafy vegetables so my favorite vegetable would most likely be collard greens or broccoli.

What’s a typical week like as a Double Up Ambassador?

A typical week as a Double up ambassador includes doing site visits to participating locations to interact with shoppers, support cashiers, and address any program issues to report during weekly ambassador meetings.

How does Double Up Food Bucks help people?

Double Up allows people to almost double the amount of healthy food in their household. The Double Up program helps people to be intentional about their eating habits.

Do you have any Double Up tips for shoppers?

I implore shoppers to utilize their Double Up Food Bucks every opportunity that they shop. $20 a day does not seem like much but if they shop multiple times a week or month, it can really help stretch your food budget.

Have you learned anything since becoming an ambassador that surprised you?

I didn’t realize how many people were living with very low income and I undervalued the impact that I could have on people’s lives in my own community. I have learned a lot about Flint overall landscape and there is structure here to solve our own food security issues, but we will need to work collectively.

How would you spend $10 at the Flint farmers market?

I advise people to create a meal plan before shopping. A lot of vendors offer two for $5 deals on berries, corn, potatoes, etc. That means an average of four products for $10 = $2.50 to spend on each item. A meal plan with this budget could consist of two yams, greens, corn on the cob and a bag of potatoes. Ideally this would make a meal for three to four people.

How does your work as an ambassador impact your work in the city of Flint as a whole?

My work as an ambassador gives me the exposure to understand Flint’s food system. Understanding the underlying issue will allow us to better address the situation and create a solution for our food security issues. On a smaller scale I can address individual needs on a daily basis. The more people I can educate about Double Up, the more the program can flourish and the more people are able to bring home healthy food.

 

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