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DHS news release

May 14, 2007

Program contact: Lauren Mitchell, 503-945-6479
Media contact: Patricia Feeny, 503-945-6955

Thousands of Oregon's seniors benefit from federal nutrition program


2007 regulations require participants to return application to receive benefits

New this year, federal laws are requiring eligible seniors to return an application to receive farmers' market checks. In 2006, every eligible senior was automatically mailed the checks.

Now in its sixth year, the Senior Farm Direct Nutrition Program is provided by the Oregon Department of Human Services in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Lauren Mitchell, who coordinates the program for DHS, said about 43,000 Oregon seniors are eligible for this season's program, which begins June 1 and continues until Oct. 31.

"Ensuring basic nutrition to our seniors and other vulnerable populations is an investment in the health of our state," Mitchell said. "The program not only benefits low-income seniors, but also supports local farmers markets and farmers."

In early May, the state sent a bright yellow application to eligible seniors. If they choose to participate in the program, they must return the bottom portion of the application to the state.

Beginning in June, each eligible senior who signs up will receive 10, $3 checks for a total of $30. Senior recipients may also have a designated family member or caregiver shop with their checks on their behalf. Oct. 31 is the last day that seniors may spend Farm Direct checks.

In 2006, $1.1 million dollars went to local farmers whose produce fed nutritionally at-risk families and seniors. For the 2007 season, $1.04 million has been allocated for the program. Oregon has more than 70 participating farmers markets and 412 farm stands located throughout the state.

To be eligible for the SFDNP, seniors must meet the following requirements.

  • 60 years or older as of April 1, 2007.
  • Enrolled in food stamps and/or Medicaid as of April 1, 2007.
  • Living in a situation where food is not provided.
  • Monthly income does not exceed $1,149 for a single person or $1,541 for a couple. 

For questions about senior eligibility and check distribution, call 866-299-3562.