Vouchers help poor shop at farmers markets

DeKALB – In 2011, Dana King, events and promotions coordinator for KishHealth System marketing and public relations, worked with area leaders to establish a farmers market voucher program to help subsidize the cost of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs for seniors and low-income families. King coordinated with Lindsey Engelsman of Re:New DeKalb, Kay Chase of the DeKalb County Health Department and Diana King, director of Senior Services for Family Service Agency, to launch the program at the DeKalb Farmers Market. The program, in its third year, has expanded to include the Sycamore Farmers Market.

Clients of the Senior Service Agency and the WIC program receive coupons toward the purchase of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs at the markets. Families participating in the WIC program receive $27 in coupons after completing a class they are required to attend every three months to maintain their WIC eligibility. Low-income seniors at Family Service Agency’s five senior service centers received packets with $9 in coupons. Coupons are now available to patients being seen at the Center for Family Health’s Sycamore and Malta locations.

In 2012, 441 families were helped by the program.

There are seven farmers who sell the approved items at the markets in DeKalb and Sycamore. Only those who are involved in an approved program are eligible to receive vouchers.

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