Candace Gordon with the Haney Farmer’s Market in Maple Ridge holds the nutrition coupons that are available to qualifying participants. (THE NEWS/files)

Helping families eat fresh

Donations can now be made online to help low income families and seniors purchase food at Haney Farmer’s Market.

The B.C. Association of Farmer’s Markets has launched a new fundraising platform to provide fresh food to thousands of people across the province.

Qualifying low income families with children under 18-years and low income seniors are eligible to pick up five $3 coupons every week at their local farmer’s market from mid-May to the beginning of November.

The coupons, valued at $240 over the 16 weeks of the market, enable the participants to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and cheese.

Participants must also be registered in a food skills program or a course that contains a cooking component.

The Haney Farmer’s Market in Maple Ridge is one of 55 markets involved in the program.

Now, a new online donor fund has been set up in collaboration with Vancity Community Foundation where individuals, businesses, sports teams and other organizations can donate directly to the nutrition coupon program and be eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

Currently there are 10,000 lower income individuals from more than 3,500 households in the province that are helped by the program.

This year in Maple Ridge there were 82 participants and there is a waiting list in almost every community.

The program was started in 2012 in partnership with the Province of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Services Authority.

The B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets represents more than 145 farmers’ markets across the province.

To donate to the nutrition coupon program go to bcfarmersmarket.org/donate.