The Union County Department of Social Services (DSS) still has coupons available that allow qualified seniors to purchase up to $25 worth of fresh produce from the local farmers’ market.
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program seeks to supplement the diets of low-income seniors age 60 and older with fresh produce while also supporting South Carolina’s small farmers. Seniors who meet the program’s household income eligibility requirements are issued $25 worth of coupons that may be used at their local farmers’ market from May through Oct. 15.
The coupons are distributed through county DSS offices in cooperation with the SC Department of Social Services. A total of 10,000 coupons were issued to Union County and were distributed by DSS personnel and volunteers in the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church Monday and Tuesday mornings. The coupons were to be distributed on a first come, first served basis until the supply was exhausted. As of Thursday morning, however, the supply was not exhausted and DSS personnel are in the process of trying to get the remaining coupons into the hands of those who need them.
“We did not give all of them out,” DSS Program Coordinator for Economic Services Susan Lawson said Thursday. “We actually have 18 sets left as of right now. We’re still trying to give out the remainder.
“Each qualified person receives five five dollar coupons which are good at the local farmers’ market through Oct. 15,” she said. “We have 450 coupons left out of 10,000 that we’re still trying to give away and we’ll continue to give them out until they are gone.”
Lawson urged seniors who think they might qualify for the coupons to call DSS about their availability. If there are still coupons to be distributed, those wanting to apply for them must come to the DSS office and bring with them proof of identity and residency as well as information regarding the income of all members of their household to determine eligibility. Those wanting to apply for coupons on behalf of a homebound senior must bring with them a signed statement from the senior granting them permission to submit an application on their behalf. They must also bring proof of identity and residency and income for the homebound senior.
The Union DSS has been distributing the coupons for each of the past eight years and Lawson said that the overwhelming majority of those who’ve received them have put them to good use.
“In 2011, the percentage of the coupons redeemed as 92.7 percent,” Lawson said.
For more information about the coupons, contact Susan Lawson at 429-1660, extension 117 or Sue Gregory at 429-1660, extension 113.