When Mattituck resident Gertrude Lenahan passed away last October at the age of 96, her family wanted to do something unique to honor her.
Now, this summer, seniors throughout Southold and families who receive food from Community Action Southold Town’s food pantry in Greenport will have access to more fresh vegetables, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation to begin a program called “Gert’s Greens” in Ms. Lenahan’s honor.
Ms. Lenahan had been receiving food from Southold Town’s Meals on Wheels program toward the end of her life, and her family wanted to do something to ensure that other seniors and low-income families could have more fresh produce in their diet, Southold Human Services Director Karen McLaughlin told the Southold Town Board at their work session July 15.
Her office paired up with CAST, which was eligible for the grant funding because of their non-profit status, to create a program that will give seniors coupons for $5 and $10 coupons that can be used at several Southold farm stands, and will provide fresh vegetables at CAST’s food pantry.
“We want to get more fresh vegetables, but sometimes it’s cost-prohibitive,” CAST Director Sarah Benjamin told the town board at the July 15 work session. “We want to support local farmers and help senior citizens.”
Ms. McLaughlin said the coupons will be available to any senior citizens, but her office will give priority to homebound seniors who don’t drive.
So far, Harbes Farm and Patty’s Bunches & Berries in Mattituck and Schmitt Farms in Laurel have signed on to take the coupons, and Latham Farm in Orient and Sep’s in East Marion have expressed interest in the program. The farmers will be reimbursed for accepting the coupons through the grant funds.
CAST and the town Human Services department plan to begin promoting the program in the upcoming weeks.