Nutrition for Struggling Seniors

Pennsylvania program assists local seniors, gives vouchers for farmer’s market

A public initiative in Beaver County, Pa. is easing the burden on financially taxed seniors. The county’s Office on Aging administers a Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, distributing $20 worth of five-dollar vouchers throughout the summer season.  The vouchers are distributed on one county-determined date, and are redeemable for the equivalent value of fresh produce at any area farmer’s market.

All seniors 60 and older with an annual income of less than $21,257 are eligible for the program, and officials are pleased with the 97 percent return rate of vouchers.  For seniors and their loved ones, the cost of assisted living and around the clock care can make financial stability difficult. Corners are often cut for the sake of budget, and diet suffers.      

Not only does the program allow access to fruits and vegetables, but it also supports local agriculture.


Inflation poses the only current threat to this program. Market prices of fresh goods have risen, but the voucher value has not increased in years. Program coordinator Joanne McDermitt says that there are currently no plans to revise the voucher amount at this time.