Mountain Empire Older Citizens Inc. will soon be giving a limited number of books of checks to distribute to eligible residents of the county and city. Checks worth $40 will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis and can be used at area farmers markets beginning July 1 through the seasonal close of the markets.
The program is designed to improve nutrition for senior citizens while also helping local farmers to sell their locally grown fruits, vegetables and freshly cut herbs. Markets are located in Norton, Wise, Big Stone Gap and St. Paul.
MEOC wants to make sure that all wishing and eligible to participate have the opportunity to do so. The application process that can be done by telephone takes no more than two minutes to complete.
The check books contain eight $5 checks seniors can spend like cash at the markets to purchase produce from farmers who have been pre-approved by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Besides being 60 or older and a resident of Wise County or Norton, the only other eligibility requirement is to have an income equal to or below 150 percent of the poverty level. For one individual the income limit is $1,436 a month, for two individuals the income limit is $1,939 a month.
To apply by phone call MEOC at (276) 523-4202 and ask to be enrolled into the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Applications can also be taken in person at MEOC’s offices in Big Stone Gap located at 1501 Third Ave. East.