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Seniors now eligible for free fruit, vegetables from markets

By Rhonda Costa-Landers

Appeal Staff Writer

Nevada has received funding from the USDA Food and Nutrition Program to provide free coupons for low-income Carson City seniors to receive fresh fruits and vegetables at area farmers markets.

The applicant must be 60 years of age or older, and their annual income should not exceed $19,240 for an individual, or $25,908 for a couple. The individual will receive one booklet; the couple will receive two (one each).

Low-income seniors are asked to fill out an application prior to the distribution of coupons. They are available at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center, 911 Beverly Drive, or the RSVP office at 3303 Butti Way, Building 1 in the Carson City Corporate Yard. Applications must be filled out to receive the coupons on June 25.

“We’d like the applicants to turn them (applications) in ahead of time, as soon as possible,” said Janice Ayres, director of RSVP. “We will have a kick-off party from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center on June 25.

“We can’t possibly take 600 applications in 90 minutes. So when they come in, they can just sign off, pick up their coupons and go. We’re just trying to make this as easy as possible for everyone.”

The kick-off will include a presentation by a nutritionist and will offer tasting of fresh fruits and vegetables and a free cookbook.

“We got approval from the attorney general’s office to use leftover funds to buy the cookbooks,” Ayres said. “The cookbook offers lots of ideas on how to prepare and keep produce, its nutritional value – all that sort of thing.

“We’ve never done that before. It’s good of the AG’s office to let us do this.”

Ayres said if a person is unable to get an application prior to June 25, they will have them available June 25 at the senior center.

“We should have enough coupons to handle applications,” she said. “But it will be first-come, first-served.”

Each eligible senior will receive one coupon booklet containing 15, $2 coupons for a total of $30, which are redeemable for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Carson City Farmers Market. The market is now open from 3-7 p.m. each Wednesday through Aug. 27 at the Pony Express Pavilion in Mills Park.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is a cooperative effort by USDA, the Nevada Rural Counties RSVP Program, the Nevada State Commodity Food Distribution Program, the Nevada Department of Agriculture, the Nevada Certified Farmer’s Market Association and the State of Nevada Division for Aging Services, whose purpose is to increase the consumption, production and distribution of locally grown fruits and vegetables while supplementing nutritional needs for low-income seniors.

For information, call RSVP at 687-4680, ext. 0.

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