Applications for the coupons are being taken today at the Meigs Senior Citizens Center. According to a release from the Area Agency on Aging 8 the Meigs County Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides income-eligible senior citizens with special coupons worth $50 to buy produce.
For the convenience of seniors, a sign-up for the program and other local resources is being provided today (April 14) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Senior Center. Representatives from the Area Agency were also there yesterday to assist seniors in completing their applications for the coupons.
In addition to assisting with applications for the Farmers Market coupons, the Area Agency representatives also made seniors aware of other benefits available through the Ohio Benefits Bank, such as food stamps and home energy assistance.
Local farmers are needed to participate in the Market program, an Agency representative said. Farmers may sell seasonal items as long as the farmer grows at least 51 percent of the produce sold and does not purchase produce from a wholesaler (one who does not grow the produce). A farmer may buy the rest of the produce — 49 percent of what is sold from other local farmers.
For more details on what products are included in the program or to become an authorized SFMNP farmer, contact the Area Agency on Aging 8 (AAA8) at 1-800-331-2644 or visit www.areaagency8.org.
The Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is a USDA program in which grants are awarded to provide coupons to low-income seniors. Individuals are eligible for the Senior Farmers’ Market if they are 60 and have an annual income of $20,035 or less as a single person ($26,954 or less for a household of two).
These SFMNP coupons may be exchanged for eligible foods from authorized farmers. Only fresh, locally grown fruits, herbs and vegetables are eligible to be purchased with the coupons.
The Ohio Department of Aging and AAA8 have partnered with local service providers to implement the program in Southeastern Ohio. In Meigs County the partners are the Meigs Senior Center and the Meigs County Council on Aging.
Each eligible senior receives $50 per person; grant funding is limited and coupons are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each person will receive a total of ten $5 coupons: five $5 coupons valid from May 1- July 31 and five $5 coupons valid from Aug. 1- Oct. 31.
Coupons may only be redeemed by authorized participating farmers who sell produce at farmers’ markets, or roadside stands. The program will end Oct. 31, 2009. Buckeye Hills Area Agency on Aging the area’s administrator of PASSPORT services, a cost-effective, in-home alternative to nursing home care for Medicaid-eligible Ohio residents age 60 and older.
For more information on services, call (740) 373-6400 or 1-800-331-2644.