OHIO VALLEY — The annual Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is so popular that inevitably the demand outpaces the available funding. Year-over-year, the Buckeye Hills region in southeast Ohio maintains waiting lists with hundreds of seniors who never get coupons for fresh market items. The Buckeye Hills Regional Council is the lead agency for the Southeast Ohio Aging & Disability Resource Network and administers the program.
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides income-eligible senior citizens with special coupons worth $50 to enjoy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey. While the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is funded by USDA and the Ohio Department of Aging, their funding is LIMITED. Many income-eligible seniors are placed on waiting lists. Program coupons may be exchanged for eligible foods from authorized farmers. Only fresh, locally grown fruits, herbs, vegetables and honey are eligible to be purchased with the coupons.
“Since 1974, we have been a trusted source for information and access to a full-range of available services, programs and options to help individuals, regardless of age or disability, remain at home,” said Aging Director Jennifer Westfall. “This year, we decided to create the sponsor a senior program and ask the community to help us meet the demand for Senior Farmers’ Market Coupons in the form of donations. A donation of $50 will sponsor one of the 500+ seniors in Southeast Ohio on the current waiting list for Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program coupons.”
Westfall added that the sponsor a senior program will also benefit Project Lifesaver. This technology, in the hands of certified law enforcement partners, helps find people with a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease or Autism when they wander from a caregiver. Clients are outfitted with a transmitter about the size of a watch — worn on the wrist or ankle. Should the client wander, the caregiver notifies 911 and the local Sheriff’s Office begins a search immediately using Project Lifesaver equipment. Without the technology, searches can last hours or days. Through community donations, the program is offered free to seniors and $350 will sponsor one enrollee on the Project Lifesaver Program.
Donations may be mailed to 1400 Pike St. Marietta, OH 45750 or through the GoFundMe site: www.gofundme.com/buckeyehills-sponsorasenior (site transaction and processing fees apply to donations). Donations are not tax deductible as Buckeye Hills is not a 501(c)3. To learn more, call Buckeye Hills at 1-800-331-2644 or visit www.buckeyehills.org/sponsor-a-senior.