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 and 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 only by mail. 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: March 20 for Athens and Hocking Counties; March 27 for Monroe and Washington Counties and April 3 for Meigs, Morgan, Noble and Perry Counties.
Applications will be available across the region, at the Buckeye Hills office (1400 Pike St. in Marietta) and online at www.buckeyehills.org. 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.
Income eligibility requirements include: one person in household with income of $0-$22,459; 2 people in household with income of $0-$30,451; and 3 people in household with income of $0-$38,443; 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.
In 2017, the program served 1,566 seniors with an additional 433 placed on waiting lists. Last year the food for the program was provided by 48 local farmers who redeemed $67,731 in coupons. Administered by Buckeye Hills, funding is provided through the Ohio Department of Aging and USDA with fund support from the Buckeye Hills Sponsor a Senior program (which helped to remove 127 seniors from the waiting list). Learn more and give at buckeyehills.org/sponsor-a-senior. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.