In 2011, Dana King, events and promotions coordinator for KishHealth System Marketing and PR, worked with area leaders to establish a farmers’ market voucher program to help subsidize the cost of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs for senior adults and low-income families. King coordinated with Lindsey Engelsman Marketing and Special Events Coordinator for Re:New DeKalb, Kay Chase WIC and family case management coordinator for DeKalb County Health Department, and Diana King, director of Senior Services for Family Service Agency, to launch the program with the DeKalb Farmers Market held on Thursdays. The program is now in its third year and has expanded to include the Sycamore Farmers Market held on Sundays.
Clients of the Senior Service Agency as well as the WIC program receive Farmers’ Market coupons toward the purchase of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs. Families participating in the WIC program receive a packet containing $27 worth of coupons to be used at the DeKalb and Sycamore Farmers’ Market after they have completed a regularly scheduled class to maintain their WIC eligibility, which is required of them to attend every three months. Materials are in both English and Spanish to meet the needs of all WIC participants.
Packets were handed out at all five DeKalb County senior service centers containing $9 worth of coupons for low income seniors attending the centers at those locations. Additionally during the 2013 season, packets are now available to patients being seen at the Center for Family Health at the Sycamore and Malta locations.
In the 2012 season, 441 area families were helped by the KishHealth System-funded voucher program. “Looking at the number of families who have been able to take part in this program has been so rewarding. The program has been so well received by all participants across the board from the farmers to the recipients as well as affiliated agencies handing out the vouchers. I look forward to maintaining and growing the program in the coming years,” said Dana King.
There are currently seven farmers who sell the approved items at the weekly markets in DeKalb and Sycamore. Only those who are currently involved in an approved program at the above mentioned locations are eligible to receive vouchers.
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