UNION — The Union County Council on Aging is once again participating in a program that enables senior citizens to purchase up to $25 in fresh produce from local farmer’s markets.
According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services website (dss.sc.gov) the Senior’s Farmers Market Nutrition Program “provides fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors. The program also seeks to increase the consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding, developing, or aiding in the development and expansion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.”
The website states that the benefits of the program are distributed locally through community-based organizations, usually a local Council on Aging which has agreed to do so.
In Union County that means the Union County Council on Aging which, as it has for a number of years now, is once again distributing the coupons to local senior citizens.
“The state, through DSS, has allocated funds to the center to help seniors purchase produce from farmer’s markets here in Union and throughout the county,” Director Tim Black said. “Each senior receives five coupons worth five dollars apiece for twenty-five dollars total. Union County got a total of $10,000 worth of coupons.”
As in years past, the Union County Council on Aging scheduled two distributions of the coupons, the first of which was held on Wednesday, June 7.
“We had a really good turnout,” Black said. “We distributed coupons to approximately 240 people.”
Black said he is hoping for another good turnout on Wednesday, June 21 when the Council on Aging will be distributing the remaining $4,000 worth of coupons. Like the first distribution, the June 14 distribution will be held at the Union County Council on Aging at 237 North Gadberry Street, Union, from 1-4 p.m. Bottled water will be available for the seniors waiting to have their requests for coupons processed and Black said that each will also receive a sports cup provided by the state.
The distributions are held on two days to avoid long lines that single-day distributions often produce, forcing seniors to stand outside the council offices in the heat. By having it on two separate days, those applying can wait inside the building to apply for their coupons.
No one may sign up in advance for the coupons or sign up for them over the phone or online. All sign-ups must be done in person on the day of the distribution.
To receive the coupons, a person must be 60 years of age or older, meet the program’s income guidelines, and bring with them identification proving they are residents of Union County.
For more information about the Senior’s Farmers Market Nutrition Program call Peggy O’Dell at 864-429-1682.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.