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Farmers market discount coupons available July 8 for senior citizens

Farmers market discount coupons available July 8 for senior citizens
(File photo)

Lower-income senior citizens can pick up discount coupons worth $30 Friday July 8, at seven locations around Baltimore County to help purchase fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs at authorized Maryland farmers markets.

The coupons are available for Baltimore County seniors aged 60 or older who meet certain income guidelines per household. For example, the limit for a single-person household is set at $21,978 a year or $1,832 a month. A household of four has a limit of $44,955 a year or $3,747 a month. The coupon pick-up is supported through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, a federally funded program established in 2000 that is administered by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Thomas Buckmeier, information specialist with the Baltimore County Department of Aging, said each Maryland district is given a set amount of coupons, with different locations available for pickup.

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"There are usually hundreds and hundreds of people there," Buckmeier said.

Laura Riley, deputy director of the Baltimore County Department of Aging, said the county is given a number of coupons that fluctuates based on demand and the redemption rate from the previous year. On July 8, 871 coupon booklets will be distributed compared to 916 last year.

"We operate on a first-come first-serve basis," Riley said. "We give them out until they run out."

Seniors picking up the coupons must bring a photo ID and self-declare their income eligibility, Buckmeier stated in an email. No proof of income is required. Seniors too frail to go can send a proxy, who must fill out the coupon participant's information and sign their application.

"This program promotes eating healthier and supporting local farmers," Riley said.

The coupon pick-up is one of many programs offered by the Department of Aging to help lower income seniors to eat healthy. Riley said the department offers a local lunch and home food delivery.

"The coupons are one more way of making sure seniors of lower income have access to this," Riley said.

Local authorized farmers markets include the Baltimore County Farmers Market at Maryland State Fairgrounds held Wednesdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Towson Farmers Market on Allegheny Avenue held Thursdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; and the Kenilworth Farmers Market in the parking lot at The Shops at Kenilworth held Tuesdays, 3:30-6:30 p.m.

The coupons will be distributed from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., or until supplies run out, at Hillcrest Elementary School,1500 Frederick Rd, Catonsville; Northminster United Presbyterian Church, 705 Main St, Reisterstown; the Cockeysville Branch Library, 9833 Greenside Dr, Cockeysville; Windsor Mill Middle School, 8300 Windsor Mill Road, Windsor Mill; Perry Hall Middle School, 4300 Ebenezer Road, Perry Hall; Middle River Middle School, 800 Middle River Road, Middle River; and Patapsco High School, 8100 Wise Ave, Dundalk. More information about the program and a full list of farmers markets is available at eatfreshmd.com.

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