The Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging wants to make sure the region’s senior citizens are eating nutritious meals and are willing to hand out some incentives to make it happen.
The agency is promoting the county’s senior lunch program by offering the first 75 eligible seniors free Farmers Market coupons worth $20 to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs or honey at a local certified Farmers Market. The coupons are only for those that have not yet received coupons this year.
The coupons will be handed out at five of the 11 lunch sites. Seniors are invited to try the lunch offered through the congregate meal program. A donation of $3 is suggested, though no senior will be denied a lunch for lack of funds. Anyone under the age of 60 has to pay $5.50 for the lunch.
The congregate meal program had been under the direction of the Howard Training Center until July when it transitioned to three different organizations. United Samaritans Foundation has taken on the entire management of the Turlock and Hughson sites. Taher foods out of Merced College serves Mancini Hall Modesto Senior Center, Hammon Senior Center in Patterson and the Gladys Lemmon Senior Center in Oakdale. The Turlock Gospel Mission prepares the pre-packaged hot meals for Newman, Marple Manor, Ralston Tower and Riverbank sites that require sealed meals as they don’t meet the health requirements to serve bulk food.
“The meals program is going wonderfully – the meals are popular and the participant counts are growing,” said Jill Erickson, the manager of the Agency. “Seniors are raving about the meals. We have received good comments from all the sites and organizations – but especially about the meals from Taher foods prepared at Merced College.”
The Farmers Market coupons will be distributed at the Turlock senior meal site from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Aug. 24. The meals are served at the Turlock Senior Center, 1191 Cahill St., next to the Turlock Library.
Seniors interested in getting the coupons and or attending the luncheon should call the Senior Information line for more information at 558-8698 and to learn how to make a reservation at the various sites. One day advance notice is required to ensure adequate numbers of meals are prepared.
The coupons can be used at certified farmers markets in Stanislaus County:
· Turlock Certified Farmers Market — 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, west entrance off Soderquist Road. Market runs through Oct. 13.
· Modesto Farmers Market — 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays at 16th Street between H and I streets. The market runs through Nov. 17.
· Oakdale Farmers Market — 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays on N. 3rd Avenue between E and F streets. Market runs through Sept. 17.
· Patterson Farmers Market — 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays at 1040 W. Las Palmas. Market runs through Sept. 19.