Community Meal Sites
There are over 100 locations in the state where older citizens can enjoy a nutritious noon meal. Some of these sites serve meals daily, Monday through Friday. Other sites are open less often. Meal sites also sponsor programs on health, nutrition education, and other consumer issues.
Home Delivered Meals
In many areas of the state, volunteers and paid staff deliver meals to people who are homebound and unable to prepare meals for themselves. Special containers make sure that when the meal arrives, it is hot and ready to eat. In some cases, participants can opt to receive frozen meals to reheat at a later time.
Both nutrition programs are available to anyone 60 years of age or older, regardless of income. No fee is charged, but donations are encouraged.
Maine Senior FarmShare
To take part in the Senior FarmShare Program you must:
- Be a Maine resident, 60 years old or older (55 if Native American)
- Not be an immediate family member or live in the same household as the farmer
- 2010 income guidelines
- Maximum of $20,036/per year ($1,670/month) for a one-person household; or
- Maximum of $26,955/per year ($2,247/month) for a two-person household
- (Note: If you have established eligibility in MaineCare, or Supplemental Security Income, or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or Low Income Drug Program, you automatically meet the income guidelines.)
If you are uncertain about your eligibility to participate in Maine Senior FarmShare, you should contact your local area agency on aging by calling the ELDERS-1 toll-free number at 1-877-353-3771.
Benefits of Farmshare:
As a participant in the program, you are qualified to receive a free share ($50 worth) of first-quality, fresh, local produce from a Maine farm for 8 weeks during the growing season. The variety of produce and method of delivery/pick-up will vary depending on which farm you choose to sign up with.
How and When to Sign Up:
Sign up takes place during March and April each year directly with a participating farmer. Please see 2010 participating farmers list.
Seniors must sign up each year with a farmer. Please do not assume that you are automatically signed up if you participated in a prior year.
You may choose a different farmer from year to year, but you can only sign up with one farmer for one share in one program year.
The number of seniors who qualify for the Senior FarmShare program significantly outnumbers the number of shares available for distribution. If the farm you contact has filled all of their shares, you may ask to be put on a waiting list. Please understand that meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee you a share.
You are not officially signed up until you complete and sign the agreement form given to you by the farmer. These forms will be available to the farmers in March. It is your responsibility to directly contact a local farmer to sign up. You can either use the participating farmers list due out soon or you can contact your local area agency on aging by calling the ELDERS-1 toll free number at 1-877-353-3771 to assist you.
You are signing an agreement with a farmer to use your entire share by the date the farmer sets. Only sign up for a share if you are fairly certain you will be able to use all of it. You must let the farmer know if your share will not be used. If you cannot or do not use your full share, the farmer has to provide produce for which he has been paid by signing up another senior.
Things You Should Consider When Signing Up with a Farmer
- Does the farm grow fruits and vegetables that you like to eat?
- Are you required in the agreement to go pick up from the farm, or does the farmer deliver to you?
- If you have to PICK UP your produce, do you have transportation to get to the farm enough times over the 8 week season to use up your $50 share?
- Is the place where you have to pick up your produce too far away from your home?
- Do you choose what you will receive every week, or does the farmer choose for you? (This will be explained by the farmer and written on the agreement form.)
Recipes/Benefits of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
The benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables are plentiful! For specific information on the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables and for recipes click on the links below:
- Maine Nutrition Network: www.maine-nutrition.org/
- Office of Elder Services: www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/community/nutrition,shtml
- Fruits and Veggies Matters: www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/
- Recipe Source: www.recipesource.com
Seasonal Availability of Produce in Maine
Different farms participating in the Maine Senior FarmShare program offer different types of fruits and vegetables. You should check with the farmer before signing up to be sure the farm's offerings will meet your needs. The fruits and vegetables will be available at different times during the growing season. Since the FarmShare program only includes Maine-grown produce, you should realize that you will not receive items such as bananas, oranges, lemons, and other tropical fruits
Additional Resources Available to Low-Income Seniors:
Seniors that qualify for Maine Senior FarmShare may also qualify for other benefits. Contact your local area agency on aging by calling the ELDERS-1 toll free number at 1-877-353-3771 regarding other benefit opportunities, or complete a self-assessment test online: http://www.benefitscheckup.org/
These benfits may include:
- Maine Rx Plus
- Low Cost Drug Program
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
- Food Stamps
- Medicare Savings Program
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Other Maine Resources:
- Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled Program: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/home_care/low-cost-drug.html
- Maine’s Office of Elder Services: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/
If you have any questions or concerns that your farmer is unable to answer, please contact your local area agency on aging by calling the ELDERS-1 toll free number at 1-877-353-3771.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program
- What is the CSFP?
- The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) works to improve the health of low-income elderly people at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA commodity foods. It provides food and administrative funds to States to supplement the diets of these individuals.
- Elderly people are the population served by CSFP in Maine which provides food rather than the food vouchers.
- CSFP food packages do not provide a complete diet, but rather are good sources of the nutrients typically lacking in the diets of the target population.
- CSFP is administered at the Federal level by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service
- (FNS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- An estimated 444,000 elderly people participated in the program in fiscal year (FY) 2008. As a new program, Maine currently has around 3,000 participants
- How does the program operate?
- USDA purchases food and makes it available to State agencies and Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs), along with funds for administrative costs. In Maine, the state agencies that administer CSFP are both the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Department of Agriculture. State agencies store the food and distribute it to public and non-profit private local agencies.
- Local agencies – such as Maine’s AAAs and the Western Maine Community Action Program determine the eligibility of applicants, distribute the foods, and provide nutrition education. Local agencies also provide referrals to other welfare, nutrition, and health care programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, Medicaid, and Medicare.
- What are the requirements to get food through CSFP?
- Elderly participants must reside in Maine.
- Maine has established an income limit for the elderly that is at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
- What foods are provided to participants?
- Food packages include a variety of foods, such as non-fat dry and evaporated milk, juice, farina, oats, ready-to-eat cereal, rice, pasta, peanut butter, dry beans or peas, canned meat or poultry or tuna, and canned fruits and vegetables.
- For a list of foods available for CSFP for fiscal year 2012, visit the FD web site at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/foods/fy12-csfpfoods.pdf.
- Who should I contact for more information about CSFP?
- For more information about this program, contact the Maine Office of Elder Services at 207-287-7513 or you can contact your local AAA which is the CSFP.