Lottery helps determine which seniors get farmers markets coupon books

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SILVER SPRING, Md. — The cost of eating healthy can add up fast and eat into a budget especially for people on a fixed income.

That’s why every year the state of Maryland helps seniors with a special program to help them afford fresh produce.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County held a lottery in six separate locations to help determine who would get the coupon books that help seniors struggling financially pay for fresh produce from local farmers markets.

The coupons are a $30 value.

“We get more coupon books than other counties in Maryland do but I think this is a really important program that people really look forward to,” said Melanie Polk, director of senior nutrition for Montgomery County.

Polk said they regularly hand out around 800 coupon books every year and always have more demand than supply and end up putting people on a waiting list in case the books aren’t used.

“That’s why we use a lottery system, so it’s fair,” said Polk.

Those seeking a coupon book in the future would have to be 60 years old or older, live in Montgomery County and meet income standards which include a single-family home household income of less than $22,311.

The coupons are good through November 1, 2017.