Low-income seniors can receive produce

Nevada Rural Counties RSVP has received federal funding to provide coupons for fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to seniors 60 years of age and older.

Requirements include annual income that does not exceed $17,705 for an individual or $23,736 for a couple who live in Northern Nevada.

The purpose of the program is to increase the consumption, production and distribution of locally grown fruits, vegetables and fresh unprocessed herbs while supplementing nutritional needs for seniors.

"There will be only one coupon distribution this year, which is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 30 at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center," said Janice Ayres, executive director of RSVP.

Those picking up booklets should enter the building from the east side. If a person is unable to pick it up, they may send a family member or friend with a signed note and picture ID.

The booklet contains 15 coupons for $2 each for a total of $30 to be used for fresh produce and cannot be used until July 15. Coupons do not have to be used at one time. Participating Nevada farmers markets and roadside stand information will be given at the same time booklets are distributed. There is one coupon booklet available per eligible senior; couples get one booklet apiece.

"The program worked well the first two years - this is our third year," Ayres said. "There's always room for improvement. We're trying to get the word out to all recipients by using more avenues.

"We appreciate the press coverage, but not everyone can afford a newspaper subscription. So we're putting up fliers and talking to different groups."

Ayres said they have received cards and letters from seniors who are appreciative of the coupon booklets.

"We got a letter from one woman who did not purchase fresh produce very often because of high prices and limited income.

"Her letter said, 'You made my whole summer for me.'"

Clara Keirstead of Carson City said she was thankful RSVP was considerate enough to think of seniors who are on a limited income.

"For those seniors, I hope they use these coupons to get that fresh taste of summer," she said.

"It's a really good program," Ayres added. "We hope more people come out to use it."

Ayres said a list of all produce vendors and certified roadside stands will be given with the booklet, as well as nutritional values and recipes.

"The whole idea is to improve their health, and it helps our farmers. It's a win-win situation. We're doing this statewide and have added more farmers and certified road-side farmers."

Ayres said it doesn't matter where the person lives, anyone on the list will accept the coupons. They are good in all counties in Nevada.

Ayres said they have received 550 booklets from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Program. If Carson City runs short and other counties have not used theirs, she will keep a waiting list should they receive extra.

"And don't even ask about last year's coupons, they're not good. They do have expiration dates on them," Ayres said.

She added if someone misses the distribution date, RSVP can make arrangements for them to be picked up from their office or on the next commodity distribution day.

"We will be keeping record, so no one can double dip."

n Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

Farmers market

for seniors

What: Produce coupon distribution

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 30

Where: Carson City Senior Citizens Center, 911 Beverly Drive (east entrance)

Cost: Free to eligible persons age 60-older

Use: July 15, thereafter

Income: $17,705 or less for individual; $23,736 or less for couple

Call: 687-4680, ext. 0


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