HUNTINGTON — A well-liked program that gives recent, domestically grown meals to West Virginia seniors is returning in August.
The West Virginia Division of Agriculture (WVDA) this week introduced the return of the Senior Farmers Market Diet Program. This system was delayed earlier this yr because of an absence of a banking contract. With the contract now in place, vouchers will likely be delivered to collaborating companions and be obtainable to senior residents beginning Aug. 1. The WVDA is working to keep away from this challenge for the 2022 season, based on a launch.
“What we noticed in West Virginia will not be distinctive to our state,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt mentioned within the launch. “Many different applications across the nation are struggling to seek out banking companions to deal with redemption of the vouchers. The USDA is conscious of the problem and is working by way of easy methods to alter the federal program so states can proceed serving our senior residents.”
Senior Farmers Market Diet vouchers will likely be distributed to all 55 counties in West Virginia by the WVDA by way of the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s program. Vouchers could be exchanged for recent, nutritious, unprepared, domestically grown fruits, greens, honey and herbs from collaborating farmers markets, roadside stands and group supported agriculture applications. Eligible seniors who’re over the age of 60 and meet sure monetary necessities can enroll by way of their native senior facilities.
Charles Holley, govt director of the Cabell County Neighborhood Providers Middle, mentioned the voucher program is widespread with the seniors they serve.
Final yr, the road was two blocks lengthy at simply one among 4 distribution websites.
“Particularly right here in West Virginia and Cabell County, we’ve been identified for years as one of the vital unhealthy, overweight areas within the nation,” Holley mentioned. “A complete lot of that’s attributed to poor consuming habits. Any alternative to have domestically grown, recent produce as an alternative choice to a number of the issues we’ve been consuming that’s inflicting well being issues is a profit to our seniors. It’s an extremely widespread program. A variety of the issues folks buy is junk meals as a result of it’s low-cost. Recent produce could be price prohibitive. Having that additional $30 can imply an entire lot.”
The variety of vouchers CCCSO obtained in 2020 went down from 1,600 in 2019 to only 600. Holley mentioned he hopes COVID-19 funding will permit for the quantity to return up.
“Folks have been knocking on our doorways for the reason that winter wanting vouchers,” he mentioned.
In 2020, the WVDA and its companions distributed a complete of 16,800 vouchers to seniors in West Virginia. A complete of 349 farmers, 101 farm stands and one farmers market participated in this system by accepting the vouchers. In Cabell County, the vouchers are accepted at The Wild Ramp in Outdated Central Metropolis in Huntington and the Barboursville Farmers Market.
Reporter Taylor Caught could be reached at email@example.com. Observe her on Twitter and Fb @TaylorStuckHD.