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Hastings Gives Farmers Market Checks to Seniors

HASTINGS ON HUDSON, N.Y. - Senior citizens in Hastings now have even more incentive to stop by the farmers market each Saturday mornings. Seniors who qualify can receive checks that are good as vouchers at the farmers market as part of the Farmers Market Nutrition program .

"It's a 20 dollar packet, they're [worth] four dollars each," said Hastings Senior Advocate Anne Russak. "You have to be at least 60 to be eligible and then there are income requirements."

The requirements are income based and to be eligible a one person household must make no more than $1,678 per month, a two person household is $2,267 per month and a three person household must make no more than $2,856 per month.

"It's those incomes or if you're receiving [Social Security Income], public assistance or section eight housing subsidy then you're automatically eligible," Russak said.

The program is designed to aid low income households while simultaneously helping improve the diets and eating habits of the community's seniors.

"Hopefully they can take advantage of the farmers market, the fresh produce," Russak said. "Maybe change their eating habits a little bit by being exposed to that."

The official village website for Hastings advertises the checks as a way to get seniors to eat more fruits and vegetables. With the freshest produce in Westchester being right in the middle of Hastings each week seniors can get all the fruits and vegetables they need.

The program started in Hastings on Monday, Aug. 1 and the checks are being handed out on a first come first serve basis at the James V. Harmon Community Center. This program isn't exclusive to Hastings though.

"It originated in New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and then I guess it's funneled through the county," Russak said.

The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets describes the program as a way to "promote improved nutrition through increased consumption of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables." More information on the program can be found here.

Do you think this program will benefit the community's seniors along with the farmers market? Let us know below in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter .

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