Grantee Blog 2020

Stretching Your Food Dollar with Local Resources

We all must make choices every day. Sometimes the choice is simply deciding between wearing a light jacket or a heavy coat.  While other decisions are more difficult such as deciding whether to pay the utility bill or the car payment. It can become especially challenging when making a choice between food and another necessity. While some may say that money is something that we never have enough of, we can all take small steps and learn new ways to save and improve both our health and livelihood.

September is a National Fruits and Vegetables Month. There is no better time to talk about how to obtain delicious, colorful, and healthy fruits and vegetables more easily and affordably.

Fresh, locally grown food tastes great and are most affordable when in season. Canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables also enrich our bodies with much needed nutrients. Frozen produce are picked at the peak of ripeness and then flash frozen to preserve optimal nutrition. Canned fruits and vegetables are a convenient, tasty and nutritious way to boost intake of produce- and at a good value.

Check out local farmers markets and supermarkets for seasonal produce and special discount offers.

There are also a variety of programs available that can save money while increasing access to nutritious food.

Resources (subject to eligibility)

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides low-income individuals who are 60 years old or older with vouchers to be exchanged for eligible, NJ grown fresh produce at farmers markets.

The APPLE Program offers assistance to eligible Bergen County residents: disabled adults age 18-60, and seniors age 60 and older with limited income. Qualifying individuals can receive delivery of fresh produce along with education and tips on smart shopping.

NJ SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) provides food assistance to families with low incomes to help them buy groceries through a benefit card accepted in most food retail stores and some farmers markets. Eligibility is set by several factors, such as income and resources. You can use SNAP benefits to stretch your budget and buy nutritious foods that can keep you and your family healthy.

New Jersey’s community food bank and local food pantries provide food to individuals in need.

Meals on Wheels and the Senior Lunch Program are two nutrition programs available for older adults that provide a nutritious, prepared, mid-day meal at local nutrition centers or through delivery.

Other programs can assist with putting more money in your food wallet. By saving on  prescription cost, property tax, Medicare savings programsenergy efficiency, and utilities (heating, cooling, electric, phone, etc), you can then use the money you save to purchase fresh produce at a local grocery store or farmers market.

Bergen County Division of Senior Services/ADRC is available to provide assistance in learning and applying for many money saving programs.

About the Grantee

County of Bergen, Division of Senior Services

As the lead agency for the Bergen County’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC), the Division helps older adults, individuals with disabilities over the age of 18, and caregivers access the complex, long-term care, community-based, health and human services.