Eligible seniors can apply for senior farmers’ market coupons

OHIO VALLEY — Seniors who meet the income eligibility guidelines, will soon be receiving some welcome relief from rising food budgets. Administered in the region by the Buckeye Hills Aging & Disability 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.

The Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is funded by USDA and the Ohio Department of Aging for income-eligible seniors. 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.

Each eligible senior receives $50 worth of coupons. Grant funding is limited and coupons are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each person will receive a total of ten $5 coupons. Coupons may only be redeemed by authorized participating farmers who sell produce at farmers’ markets or roadside stands. The program will end Oct. 31.

Buckeye Hills will accept applications by mail only. Applications will be available across the region, at the Buckeye Hills office (1400 Pike St. in Marietta) and online at www.buckeyehills.org on April 3. Income eligibility requirements include: one person in household with income of $0 – $22,311; 2 people in household with income of $0 – $30,044; and 3 people in household with income of $0 – $37,777; additional numbers are available on the application. Community partners who will also have copies of the applications include the region’s Senior Centers and HAPCAP.

Applications must be returned by U.S. mail only to Buckeye Hills 1400 Pike St. Marietta, OH 45750 postmarked on or after the following dates for counties in the region: April 11 for Athens and Hocking Counties; April 18 for Perry and Washington Counties and April 25 for Meigs, Monroe, Morgan and Noble Counties.

Applications will be checked for the appropriate postmark, date-stamped and processed for distribution on a first-come, first-served basis, by county. Coupons will be mailed to eligible applicants as soon as possible after the registrations are processed. Once each county’s allocations have been filled, individuals will be placed on a waiting list and receive notification by mail.

In 2016, the region-wide program served 1,525 seniors with another 562 seniors put on a waiting list due to program funding limits. Last year the program was served by more than 50 local farmer and market providers who redeemed $62,795 in coupons. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.