Pennsylvania is offering vouchers for low-income seniors and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program recipients to purchase locally-grown fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
WIC and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provide low-income seniors and eligible participants in the WIC program vouchers to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from approved farm markets and stands. The FMNP program directly contributes over $3 million to participating Pennsylvania farmers annually. The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
“The Farmers Market Nutrition Program supports the health and well-being of seniors and families and helps facilitate even more connections and conversations between local farmers and communities, bringing neighbors together for nourishment,” said Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “I encourage everyone with program vouchers to use them to pick up some local foods and know that you’re supporting a local farm family when you do.”
“Many older Pennsylvanians live on fixed incomes. With the increasing costs of food and other necessities, these farmers market vouchers help support seniors by providing them with access to fresh, nutritious foods that are beneficial for their health and well-being,” said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “I encourage eligible seniors who have not yet received their free farmers market vouchers to contact their local Area Agency on Aging for any assistance they may require to obtain them.”
Seniors who will turn 60 by December 31, 2022, with incomes less than $46,513 for a single person or $62,6670 for a household of two, may be eligible for four $6.00 vouchers to spend between June 1 through November 30, 2022.
“We know that providing access to healthy, affordable food is essential to help families across Pennsylvania,” Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “The WIC program provides Pennsylvanians the opportunity to learn, develop and form healthy eating habits that can have life-long benefits. This program is one example of how the work of local farmers and available resources provides families with access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other food that promote healthy lifestyles.”
Women and children 6 months to 4 years of age participating in WIC are eligible to receive vouchers under the WIC FMNP. WIC recipients should contact their local WIC agency for more information about claiming their vouchers.
“By taking advantage of the opportunity for free EBT equipment to accept SNAP, farmers markets can offer a new avenue for Pennsylvanians who rely on SNAP to spend their benefits on fresh, nutritious food,” said DHS Deputy Executive Secretary Andrew Barnes. “And by helping Pennsylvanians keep food on the table, we are supporting local food retailers and producers, easing demand on charitable food systems, and, most importantly, helping people achieve a better quality of life that they deserve.”
Anyone looking to apply for SNAP or other public assistance programs can do so at www.compass.state.pa.us, by phone at 1-866-550-4355, or at on-site County Assistance Offices. The Senior FMNP Agency is accepting applications now through September.
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