Some 1,400 local residents will receive a windfall of fresh produce this summer, thanks to a recent collaboration between Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) and the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.
Administered through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), the program delivered $36,000 worth of free farmers’ market coupons for SCES to distribute in late July.
The program serves low-income older adults, providing one $25 coupon per eligible applicant annually. SCES Nutrition Director Deb McLean said the program is quite popular, noting the distribution this year took less than a week.
“People start calling about the coupons in March,” said McLean. “We never have any left over.”
The coupons were distributed by SCES case managers and volunteers, who brought the coupons to more than 30 locations across the two cities.
SCES also arranged for home delivery of the produce for 70 clients who would have otherwise missed out. Those clients were designated by SCES case managers and Meals-on-Wheels drivers, explained McLean.
“The criteria there is that they’re truly homebound and there’s nobody who could go to the farmer’s market for them,” she said.
Coupon recipients also received a copy of the SCES nutrition program newsletter, which provides information about other agency programs that can help people remain healthy and independent at home. Specific examples include Meals-on-Wheels, congregate meals, a Brown Bag grocery distribution program, and low-cost nutrition supplements.
For more information, visit the Nutrition and Meals page of SCES at eldercare.org, or call 617-628-2601.