Harrisburg, June 4, 2014 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) is encouraging seniors to take advantage of a program that provides free vouchers to purchase fresh produce grown in Pennsylvania.

“This is an excellent program for both seniors and Pennsylvania farmers because the vouchers will help provide healthy foods to older Pennsylvanians,” Brewster said.

The 2014 Senior Farmers’ Market Nutritional Program provides eligible individuals four $5 checks to use at any participating Farmers’ Market to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Checks are available at a number of Westmoreland and Allegheny County locations throughout the summer.

The distribution date for Allegheny County is Tuesday, June 17.  Contact the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging for the list of check distribution sites and times. The distribution dates and times for Westmoreland County vary by site.  Contact the Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging for the list of check distribution dates, times, and sites.

Participants must provide proof of age and residency to sign up for checks. Acceptable proofs of age include: PACE card, driver’s license, AAA card, baptismal certificate or birth certificate. Checks are distributed on a first come, first served basis, no exceptions.

The program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and applies to Pennsylvania produce such as apples, beans, berries, carrots, grapes, melons, spinach and tomatoes. The checks can be used until Nov. 30.

To qualify for the program, a participant must be age 60 or older by December 31, 2014, and make less than $21,590 per year for a one person household; or $29,101 a year for a two person household. Married couples may each receive one set of checks. Older adults living in a nursing home, convent, or residential facility that provides meals on a regular basis are not eligible to receive checks. Participants may only receive checks from one sign up location per year.

If an eligible senior requires a proxy to receive their checks, the proxy is responsible for signing for and spending the checks for the individual. Proxy forms are available at participating senior centers, on the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) website, on the Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) website or the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website.

“The program helps senior citizens and I urge all who are qualified to participate,” Brewster said.

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