UNION — The Union County Council on Aging will distribute coupons enabling 400 low-income senior citizens to buy $25 worth of fresh produce from local Farmers Market this summer.
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.
One of those local agencies is the Union County Council on Aging which will be distributing the coupons to eligible seniors on Tuesday, May 24, and Thursday, June 9, from 1-4 p.m. each day. The distributions will take place at the Union Senior Center at 237 North Gadberry St., Union.
Director Tim Black said Monday that the Union County Council on Aging will distribute coupons to total of 400 seniors over the course of those two dates.
“Each person who qualifies will receive a total of five coupons worth $5 each which will allow them to purchase $25 worth of fresh fruit and vegetables from the local Farmers Market,” Black said. “We have been allotted enough coupons to distribute five coupons each to 400 qualified seniors.”
Black said that the distribution will be held on two separate days to avoid having lines so long that people are left standing out in the sun.
“We had so many last year we’re splitting it into two days so nobody is out in the heat,” Black said. “I don’t think it’s safe for these seniors to be standing out in the heat so we’re going to try to get everybody inside.”
In order to qualify for the coupons, Black said person must be 60 years of age or older and be low-income. He said that sign ups will be on the days the coupons are distributed. When a persons signs up for a coupon, Black said they must have proof of their identity such as a driver’s license or other identification card and must provide proof that they live in Union County.
Black stressed that a person who wants to sign up for the coupons must do so in person on one of the two distribution days. He said there will be no advance sign-ups and no one can sign up over the phone or online.
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.