Farm Market Fresh program helps low-income seniors buy fresh fruits and vegetables

Low-income seniors in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties may sign up now for the Farm Market Fresh program. This Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program helps low-income seniors obtain free fresh produce. Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens administers the program locally.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services a two-year $1.6 million grant to expand the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program in Virginia to:

  • Expand coverage of SFMNP in Virginia through local Area Agencies on Aging and local governments that enroll low-income seniors. Currently, participating AAA regions cover less than 50 percent of the state; this expansion reached 90 percent in 2023 and will reach 100 percent in 2024.
  • Increase the individual voucher amount to USDA’s maximum allowable amount of $50 per eligible participant.
  • Adjust the income eligibility of the program from the current 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 185 percent, which has the potential to reach 70,000 more eligible individuals.
  • Implement an electronic payment system of SFMNP funds to modernize the banking process for authorized vendors.

To qualify, seniors must be at least 60 years old and residents of Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell or Tazewell County. They may not live in the same household and may not be an immediate family member of the farmer who grows the produce.

Eligible seniors receive vouchers worth $50, in $5 units, that they may spend with participating certified retail farmers’ market vendors. Vouchers will be mailed on June 1 and must be spent by November 18, depending on availability of produce.

Enrollees may use the coupons to obtain locally grown seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs, including broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, greens, green beans, snap beans, green peppers, lima beans, potatoes, pumpkins, spinach, squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, apples, blackberries, cantaloupe, nectarines, peaches, pears, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelons and fresh cut herbs.

Items not eligible for purchase with Farm Market Fresh checks include produce not grown locally, such as oranges, bananas and pineapples; processed foods, such as honey, maple syrup, cider, nuts, meat, bread and cheese; and non-food items, such as flowers and plants.

Individuals who have participated in the program in the past must complete a new application each year. Pre-enrollment is required and is limited, so participation is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call 276-964-4915 for more information. Once applications are available, they can be mailed or printed from AASC’s website at For more information about SFMNP, visit .


AASC receives $25,000 to repair homes of veterans

Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens has received a $25,000 grant from Meals on Wheels America and The Home Depot Foundation through their joint initiative, Helping Homebound Heroes – a program that provides home repairs and modifications for veterans. The funding will support AASC’s efforts to ensure that veteran clients have safe and accessible homes.

“We are pleased to be part of this generous grant,” said AASC’s CEO Brian Beck. “It will make a profound impact on our veteran neighbors, whose courageous service to our nation deserves our respect and gratitude. It is an honor to now help them live safely in their homes.”

Since the partnership with Meals on Wheels America began in 2015, The Home Depot Foundation has contributed nearly $19 million and countless volunteer hours from Team Depot – The Home Depot’s associate volunteer force – to work alongside community-based Meals on Wheels programs on a wide range of home improvement projects, from converting showers and adding grab bars for bathroom accessibility, to repairing railings and constructing wheelchair ramps.  Ninety-one percent of clients responding to follow-up surveys reported that the home modification and repair services provided made them feel safer in their homes and 99 percent reported that the services helped them to continue living independently in their homes.

“Veterans who have given so much to us and our country deserve the opportunity to live more safely and independently in the comfort of their own homes,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “We are extremely grateful for The Home Depot Foundation’s long-standing commitment that helps local Meals on Wheels programs like Appalachian Agency provide more than just a meal to those in need.”

Meals on Wheels America is now entering its 10th year of the Helping Homebound Heroes program and has served nearly 3,000 veterans, with a continued goal to serve even more aging veterans nationwide. This year the program is expanding to 19 Meals on Wheels organizations in 13 states across the country.

If you’re a veteran, or know a veteran, who needs home repairs, call Appalachian Agency at 276-964-4915.

Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 7

As the end of Medicare Open Enrollment approaches on Dec. 7, AASC counselors will not take any telephone clients after Friday, Dec. 1. However, the insurance counselors will continue to take in-person appointments on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 4-5.

Make an appointment with a counselor by calling AASC at 276-964-4915.

AASC’s Care Coordination Department is here to help you navigate the Medicare insurance maze. This free service helps older adults understand the various plan’s costs, coverages and benefits.

The counselors are not licensed to sell insurance but are trained and certified to help you understand and compare benefits, assist with filing for benefits based on income and resources and to inform you of your rights.

AASC’s insurance counselors will help educate and empower you to take an active role in the decision-making process.

AASC Receives $25,000 Grant From Meals on Wheels America, Food Lion Feeds

Mark Pike, Food Lion store manager in Richlands, VA, officially awarded the agency a $25,000 check for the Meals on Wheels America Meeting Unmet Needs Grant to expand the nutritional services horizon in AASC’s four-county service area. (L-R) Director of Aging Services Wayne Damron, CEO Brian Beck, Food Lion Store Manager Mark Pike, Director of Nutrition Amanda Price and Nutrition Supervisor Julene Dunford.


Cedar Bluff, VA — Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens has received $25,000 from Meals on Wheels America, the national leadership organization supporting community-based programs across the U.S. dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger, to help bridge gaps in the availability of essential nutrition services.

Appalachian Agency was awarded a Meals on Wheels America Meeting Unmet Need Grant to deliver and expand nutrition options in its four-county service area, with the goal of serving the nutritional needs of underserved or unserved seniors.

“We are very excited to receive this grant from Meals on Wheels America,” said AASC’s Director of Nutrition Amanda Price. “This generous funding will allow us to provide home-delivered meals to additional seniors in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties.”

With this grant funding, AASC plans to purchase a four-wheel-drive vehicle to allow nutrition drivers to reach homebound seniors residing in the service area’s most rural and rugged locations.

“Given the growth in the older adult population, coupled with the impacts of the pandemic, inflation and other factors, it is vital that we invest in Meals on Wheels programs’ ability to expand services and reach all those in need,” said Ellie Hollander, Meals on Wheels America President and CEO. “We believe that no one knows better what these communities need than the boots on the ground staff and volunteers delivering Meals on Wheels service to their older adult neighbors every day, and we’re proud to support their efforts with these grants.”

In total, $1.2 million in grants were awarded to 56 local Meals on Wheels programs as part of the Meals on Wheels America Meeting Unmet Need grant program. Funding for Appalachian Agency’s grant was made possible by Food Lion Feeds, a Meals on Wheels America national partner. Food Lion Feeds is committed to fighting senior hunger and making a meaningful difference in nourishing homebound seniors.

To learn more about AASC’s efforts to address unmet needs, visit If you need assistance with food or other services, call 276-964-4915.

AASC enjoys picnic in the park

It was a perfect day for a picnic in the park. Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens took advantage of it by transporting participants from its adult day center and child daycare facility to the “Fit for Life Park” located in the Richlands neighborhood of Lake Park on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Appalachian Agency received a Community Challenge Grant from AARP to help upgrade the under-utilized park owned by the Town of Richlands. With this funding provided by AARP, the agency purchased two wheelchair-accessible swings suitable for children and adults, two stationary air walkers and three benches to provide an occasion to engage with others utilizing the park. This project provides a unique fitness and play opportunity.

Existing playground equipment was donated several years ago from an elementary school when it closed. A 13’x’11’8’ wooden pirate ship and a 4’x’5’ playhouse connected by three swings were relocated. These items were donated to AASC two years ago when the state purchased the Falls Mills Fishing Club property where the playset was situated.

The town owns other parks but they don’t offer accessibility for multigenerational users or individuals with disabilities. Rocky Hill of God’s Rockstars rallied community volunteers to assist in painting existing equipment and constructing a wheelchair slide and other enhancements to the park that are suitable for older residents, families with young children and everyone in between of any ability. For older adults, exercise has been shown to strengthen social ties and improve cognitive function, and the park provides residents an opportunity to build cohesion in the neighborhood.

AASC’s group certainly enjoyed their day by testing out the equipment, enjoying a hotdog lunch and culminating the fun with a foam party. One older adult said, “I had the best day,” while another said, “This is the best park I’ve ever been to.”

Even as an older adult, you should never stop having fun and there was plenty for everyone at the new “Fit for Life Park.”