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Summer program that provides fruits and vegetables to seniors sees increased funding

Seniors can get $50 vouchers to get fresh fruit and vegetables from farmers' markets across the state.

CAMDEN, S.C. — The cost of food continues to increase, but thanks to a Department of Social Services (DSS) program, eligible seniors are able to get up to $50 in fruits and vegetables over the summer. 

“It’s going to make a real difference I believe,” said participant Sandi Doyle. 

Doyle is taking part in the DSS Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which provides access to fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables from local farmer's markets. 

The program has grown in recent years, and all 46 counties in the state are participating. 

Connelly-Anne Ragley with the Department of Social Services says it’s an increase in money per person from $25 to $50. 

“It allows qualifying senior citizens $50 worth of coupons and vouchers statewide," Ragley said. "They come in the shape of checks, with five $10 dollar checks they can use and redeem from June 1st to September 30th. Its an increase from last year. If you do participate, please redeem them ... if we want to continue to receive the highest amount of funding it needs to be spent.” 

The increase will make Doyle's life a little bit easier. 

“For me, it makes a difference," Doyle said. "$25 carry over the summer, but $50, be frank with you, it enables me to share, and if there is more than I can use, I can can it, freeze it or put it up."

Those who qualify must be South Carolina residents who are at least 60 years old, and whose income does not exceed 185% of the federal poverty income limit.

“I hope this enables people to get out there, get their vouchers and fresh food,” Doyle adds. 

Applications are being accepted now, but only in person at senior-serving organizations in every county, no applications are online.

You must bring an ID to apply, if approved you receive your voucher on the same day.

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