Voucher Program Puts Fresh Foods in the Fridges of Low Income Seniors

HAZLETON -- Farmers market season is here, and a voucher program by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is making sure lower income senior citizens can get in on the fabulous fruits and veggies, too.

Josephine Cusatis was signing up for the state voucher program at the Hazelton Active Adult Center on Friday. She said every summer she looks forward to buying fresh foods from farmers markets and roadside stands.

"I've been coming here for years now and when you're on low income it makes it easier to buy your fruits and vegetables without paying for them," Cusatis said.

Eligible lower income seniors said the $20 voucher goes a long way. Some even share the wealth.

"It gives me the chance to go to farmers markets and get fresh fruits and vegetables that I enjoy that I share with my family and friends," Jeannette Gaydoscik said.

To qualify, seniors must be 60 years or older. They must also have a total household income before taxes of less than $22,331 for a single person and $30,044 for a couple.

"Last year we did, just my senior center alone, we gave out over 1,500 vouchers, just from this center. That doesn't include all of our other centers and also we do this at the high rises as well," Harley Bobby, Director of the Hazleton Active Adult Center said.

More than 700 senior citizens already signed up for the voucher program by Friday afternoon at the center. There's even more opportunities in June and July to apply.

"If you're eligible it's something worth looking into," Cusatis said.

Vouchers will also be given out at these times and dates:

  • Wednesday, June 14, Freeland Active Adult Center, 701 Chestnut St., Freeland, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 15, Mountaintop Active Adult Center, Wright Manor Apartments, 460 S. Main Road, Mountaintop, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 21, Butler Twp. Active Adult Center, 411 W. Butler Drive, Drums, from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Tuesday, June 27, Shickshinny Active Adult Center, 17 W. Vine St., Shickshinny, from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Friday, June 30, Detweiler Farms, 165 Tunnel Road, White Haven, from 10 a.m. to noon.

4 comments

  • Truth Be Told

    Unfortunately there is no income verification to insure compliance with the guidelines and the seniors know it. I’m aware of seniors who know they are over the limits and take the vouchers anyway. Indeed, I know of some couples who go to two separate sites to get double vouchers, one for each spouse. It limits the amount of available vouchers that should be going to those who truly need it. Get Dave Bohman on this one and you’ll have a real story.

  • El Ma

    Thank goodness something positive is being done for seniors – they paved the way for us all, sacrificed, and paid their ways in a completely different world. They deserve every bit of assistance available.

    • LLOYD Schmucatelli

      What about personal responsibility and realizing that someday your going to get old and not be able to work anymore?

      What about setting enough aside for retirement to last through your golden years?

      Wait until the baby boomers on through the millennial stage hit retirement!

      Oh buddy, you want to see lines at food pantry’s? They’ll be miles long!

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