Nutrition program for seniors enrolling

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 4, 2005

Staff Report

Eligible seniors in Norfolk, Franklin, Suffolk, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties who register by May 6 can enjoy a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables this summer and fall-thanks to the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program.

A partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Virginia Department of Aging (VDA), Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program provides eligible seniors with $40 in &uot;checks&uot; they can redeem at participating farmer’s markets and roadside produce stands from July 1 through Oct. 30.

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The program is supported with $66,360 from the USDA. Last year, nearly 2,000 seniors enrolled.

Beginning Monday seniors interested in the 2005 program can enroll until all applications are distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

The application deadline is May 6. Seniors should call their participating local Senior Services office to schedule an application appointment.

Participants must be 60 years or older with an income level at or below 175 percent of the poverty level, which equates to approximately $16,747 annually for one-person households.

Once an applicant is eligible, they receive $40 in &uot;checks&uot; from their designated Nutrition Center that they can use to shop for locally grown produce at participating farmer’s markets and roadside stands. Qualified homebound customers can also participate in the program if they sign their checks and authorize someone to pick up the produce for them.

Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program checks can be used for such eligible foods as fresh and unprocessed fruits, vegetables and herbs grown locally and sold by the grower, as stipulated by the USDA. These include:

broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, greens, green or snap beans, green peppers lima beans (shelled and unshelled), potatoes (Irish or round white), pumpkins, spinach, squash (fall, winter and summer-types), sweet corn, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.

Fruits include: apples, blackberries, cantaloupe, nectarines, peaches, pears, strawberries and watermelons, as well as fresh herbs.

Both the recipient and the farmer must sign each check to ensure that only authorized farmers and seniors redeem them.

A private, non-profit organization, Senior Services provides adult services for older citizens in Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach, as well as Isle of Wight and Southampton counties. As part of its health and meal program, Senior Services provides home-delivered meals and operates congregate meal centers for qualified seniors throughout Hampton Roads.

To schedule an appointment to apply for the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, seniors can call the Senior Services office in their city/county of residence.

Participating Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Centers include:

Franklin/Southampton County, Monday – Friday , 10 a.m. to noon

Martin Luther King Rec. Center, 683 Oak St., Franklin, 569-0768

Isle of Wight County

Carrollton Nike Park, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to noon, 13036 Nike Park Road,


Zuni Presbyterian

Monday – Friday , 10 a.m. to noon, 5213 Homegrown Lane, Zuni, 242-4408


Old American Legion Sr. Center

Monday, Wednesday,

Friday, 10 a.m. to noon, 350 N. Main St., Suffolk, 923-2372

Norfolk, Nutrition Department, Monday – Friday, Senior Services, 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. 6350 Center Drive Bldg 5, Norfolk, 461-9481 ext. 125