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Farmers' Market Voucher Distribution for WIC Recipients, Seniors Delayed | WDIY Local News

 Vegetables are displayed.
Shelley Pauls

Recipients of farmers’ market vouchers are going to have to wait a little bit longer, due to a printing delay.

The vouchers are being distributed as part of the Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

According to a Northampton County press release, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said the vendor selected to print the 2023 vouchers was not able to meet the previously agreed upon delivery date of June 1.

Instead, the checks are not expected to ship until June 23, and the department estimates delivery dates to be June 28, 29, and 30.

The release said the Department of Agriculture switched to a hybrid electronic solution this year for the checks, which included embedded QR codes.

However, this required a specialty paper, which the vendor had not yet received, and the transition also resulted in significant computer programming delays for the printer.

The programs provide eligible low-income seniors, as well as participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, with vouchers to receive fresh locally-grown produce at participating farmers’ markets, stands, and other locations.

This year, each eligible WIC recipient will receive three $10 vouchers, and each eligible senior will receive five $10 vouchers.

Check redemption runs through Nov. 30, and the Department of Agriculture said the vouchers will still be available for the majority of the farmers’ market season. No in-person distribution of vouchers will be held in 2023, and seniors may only receive vouchers one time during the program.

A list of participating farmer’s markets can be accessed at: www.PAFMNP.org.

Over 1,160 farmers, 828 farm stands and 88 farmers' markets statewide are participating in FMNP and SFMNP.

According to a previous county announcement, the vouchers are being distributed by the Northampton County Area Agency on Aging Department, and proof of age and residence must be provided by people wishing to receive the checks.

Eligible seniors are Northampton County residents aged 60 or over who meet income eligibility. Income cannot exceed $26,973 annually for a single person household, $36,482 for couples, $45,991 for a three-person household, and $55,500 for a four-person household.

Northampton County said both members in a married couple may obtain vouchers.

The program does not include seniors who live in nursing homes, convents, or residential facilities where meals are provided.

(Original air-date: 6/1/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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