FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition program is using farmers markets to help feed hungry seniors.
In order to qualify for the USDA Senior Farmer's Market Nutrition program, seniors must be 60 years old or older and make less than $1,800 per month for a single-person household. The income threshold differs for additional members.
The program offers one coupon book per household. The coupons can be used towards locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and even honey. When registering, seniors must bring a photo ID and proof of their total household income. The program is also on a first-come-first-served basis, so once the coupon books run out qualifying seniors will have to wait until the next registration period.
The coupons can be used at farmers markets in any of the nine counties served by the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Arkansas. Those include: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton, Searcy and Washington Counties.
On Tuesday, (April 5) registration was at the Elkins Activity and Wellness Center, which provides van rides to the farmers market at least once a month.
"It's really helpful," said Donna Bratton, a resident at the Elkins Activity and Wellness Center. "We have a pick of what we want up there and it really helps us out on out buying groceries."
Program sign ups are being offered several days this week and next week:
- April 6: Prairie Grove Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Gentry Senior Activity Center from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- April 8: Lincoln Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Billy V. Hall Senior Complex in Gravette from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- April 11: Fayetteville Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- April 12: Benton County Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- April 13: Springdale Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- April 14: Siloam Springs Senior Activity Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Of all 50 states, Arkansas has the highest rate of hunger among senior citizens, according to the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Arkansas.