OREGON COUNTY -- The Oregon County Health Department, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, has announced the Farmers' Market Assistance Program is under way in Missouri for women, children and the elderly.
Local health department officials said fresh fruits and vegetables are in season and the state is continuing to support programs that assure these essential foods are made available to its most vulnerable populations -- the low income and elderly.
Both the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program and the Seniors' Farmers' Market Program are operating locally again this summer. Health department officials said the goals are to overcome the increased risk for health problems caused by the inability of low income mothers, children and elderly to consume an adequate and appropriate diet because of limited income.
Women and children participating in the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are eligible to receive $18 worth of coupons per season which may be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and culinary herbs at participating farmers markets' around the state.
Also, seniors age 60 and older may receive the coupons if their annual income for a single person is $16,613 or less, or $22,422 for a married couple. Eligible seniors receive $36 worth of coupons a season. If there are more than two adults over the age of 60 in a household each person can complete an application so each one of them becomes eligible for $36 in coupons. The coupons may be used locally through Oct. 31.
Local health department officials said it is important to know that the WIC Farmers' Market Program and Seniors' Farmers' Market Programs are only available in 10 counties in the state, including Oregon County.
"This is a program we are very lucky to be able to provide our residents," said Shiela Russell, administrator of the Oregon County Health Department. "We want to get the message out to the residents over 60 years old and those who qualify with our WIC programs to come to the health department and get the applications."
After receiving coupons local people can spend them at the following farmers' market locations: Thayer Wal-Mart, Alton Dollar Store, Alton Square -- July 11; Aug. 4, 5, 8; Sept. 2 ,12; and Oct. 6, 7, 10.
A farmers' market will be at the Thayer Health Department July 10, 14; Aug. 11, 13, 14; Sept. 8, 10, 11; and Oct. 8, 9 13.
For more information call Oregon County Health Department at 417-778-7450.