Friday, July 11, 2014

Money Available to Help Seniors Buy Fresh Fruits, Vegetables

A total of $1.5 million in farmers’ market checks are being distributed across New York state as part of the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. 

Made possible with funding from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the program provides checkbooks worth $20 to low-income New Yorkers age 60 and older to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. 

In Upstate communities, checks will be available at county agencies on aging. In New York City, checks can be picked up at congregate meal sites designated by the NYC Department for the Aging, as well as through Commodity Supplemental Food Programs run through the State Department of Health. 

Checks are available for low-income New Yorkers 60 or over, earning $1,800 or less per month for a single or $2,426 per month for a couple. The program provides them with the means to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers selling at community farmers’ markets.

Nearly 100,000 booklets consisting of five $4 checks are being distributed, and can be used to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from 950 farmers vending at 500 community farmers’ markets across the state. 

The program is administered by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the state Office for the Aging, the New York City Department for the Aging and the state Department of Health. Checks can be used at participating farmers markets through November 30 of this year. 

Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement, or affirm that they are currently receiving or eligible to receive one of the following benefits:

    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    Public assistance or Section 8 housing subsidy. 
    Recipients cannot have received FMNP checks from any other location.

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