BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — One South Carolina program is helping senior citizens live healthier lives.
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) will be extending its online application deadline so more residents have the opportunity to participate.
The initial application deadline closed on June 1, where over 22,000 South Carolina residents submitted applications.
The program is designed to provide low-income seniors with access to locally grown fruits and vegetables, help support community farmers’ markets and develop new local agricultural programs.
“Through an application process, seniors can receive five vouchers for a total of $25 to be used at local farmers markets,” South Carolina Department of Social Services Director of Communications Connelly-Anne Ragley told WSAV NOW.
Last year, 725,686 people received SFMNP benefits. It also impacted 14,767 farmers, 2,401 farmers’ markets, 2,316 roadside stands and 71 community-supported agriculture partnerships authorized to accept SFMNP checks or coupons.
“Those vouchers that seniors receive can be used at local farmers’ markets and approved vendors through the South Carolina Department of Agriculture,” Ragley said. “So this is benefitting not only the recipient but also our farmers and produce stands.”
They are currently providing these benefits to seniors in 43 counties.
“We know how important it is to have fresh fruits and vegetables in everyone’s diet, not just senior citizens,” Ragley said. “It can really be a challenge sometimes.”
“There are so many great vegetables and fruits that are in season. Many of them are grown right here in South Carolina or in neighboring states like Georgia,” she added. “We know that healthy communities start with healthy eating.”
Seniors who already submitted an application this year do not have to reapply. If you applied for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program in May, you do not have to submit a duplicate application.
Approved participants will receive $25 in the form of five checks to spend at authorized locations. Checks are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to approved applicants.
To qualify, South Carolina residents must be 60 years old or older with a yearly income of $23,832 or less ($32,232 for two people) and have a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID.
To apply, visit the DSS website and complete an online application. You can also call 803-898-7601 and press option 0 to apply. The online application portal will be closing on July 2, 2021, at 5 p.m.