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Fresh-produce food stamps go unused in NJ every year

State health and agriculture officials are heading to a South Jersey farm on Thursday to celebrate National Farmer’s Market Week and promote the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

According to state Health Department Commissioner Cathleen Bennett, this program helps to provide healthy Jersey Fresh produce for many lower-income state residents.

“Pregnant women, breastfeeding women and families with children aged 2 to 5, each of those types, if they are income eligible, can receive two $10 vouchers,” she said. 

“We’re also helping out seniors, so each senior can receive five $5 vouchers, so that’s up to $25 or $50 per couple.”

The commissioner says it’s important for everyone who is eligible for this program to take advantage of it.

“The reason why we’re a little bit concerned is that we’ve seen about one third of eligible New Jerseyans are not utilizing their WIC Farmer’s Market vouchers,” she said.

“That means that each year we have over $300,000 which is unspent on fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s not good news for the eligible recipients and it’s not good news for New Jersey’s farmers.”

She added, “We want to make sure we continue to support and invest in our farms here in the state and we want to make sure our residents are actually making healthy choices and we want to help them make healthy choices.”


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