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BIG STONE GAP — Wise County and Norton seniors can file applications for vouchers to buy fresh produce at local farmers markets.

Mountain Empire Older Citizens will start accepting applications May 3 for the federally funded Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which provides $45 in $5 vouchers that can be used at farmers markets in Norton, Wise, Big Stone Gap and St. Paul starting June 1.

The program can be used for locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs sold at markets approved by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Persons age 60 and older are eligible to apply for the program, and each eligible person in a household may receive a voucher book.

To determine eligibility and apply by telephone, call MEOC at (276) 523-4202 or toll free at (800) 252-6362.

MEOC will also have in-person registration Friday, May 7, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in St. Paul at Stonebriar Apartments in the Caine Center, and Tuesday, May 11, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Regency Towers’ Community Room in Norton.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.