• Last modified 30 days ago (June 20, 2024)


Programs help make ends meet

Staff writer

Nearly a quarter of county residents — 2,782 — are 65 and older. Of them, 223 live in poverty.

Life doesn’t have to be an unending grind of never knowing how to pay the bills and buy food and medication.

Help making ends meet is available.

County Department on Aging director Lu Turk said she offers several helpful programs.

Turk provides resource and referral services, steering people to St. Luke Auxiliary Thrift Store, the ministerial alliance, and other entities she thinks might help them.

“They need to ask for help,” she said. “That’s the first thing.”

One woman who came to the department for help had lost her job two years earlier. Since she had been working, she hadn’t signed up for Social Security. After two years, she had depleted her savings.

Turk got her signed up and pointed her to other resources.

Turk will help others fill out online applications.

“If they’re afraid of the computer, I’ll help them with it,” she said.

One source of help with the cost of food is farmers market vouchers available from Kansas Department of Health and Environment. A packet of 10 $5 vouchers that can be redeemed at participating vendors including Jirak Brothers Produce in Tampa, which visits Marion on Saturdays, and farmers markets in Peabody and Hillsboro.

To qualify, participants must be 60 or older and have a monthly income of not more than $2,322 for a single person or $3,152 for a family of two.

Vouchers may be used for fruits, vegetables, cut herbs, and honey. They may not be used for ornamental pumpkins; dried fruit, vegetables, and herbs; jams or jellies; baked goods; meat; eggs; or potted plants.

Turk also recommends Marion County Food Bank and other food banks. The county food bank, located at 906 E. Main St. in Marion, is open 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The food bank also offers commodities through Kansas Food Bank. Qualifying people can pick up a box of food once a month.

In Hillsboro, Main Street Ministries, 415 S. Main St., operates a food pantry. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

In Peabody, a food bank operated by the Ministerial Alliance at 500 W. 4th St. is available from 9 to 11 a.m. every second Saturday of the month.

Commodities also are delivered to senior centers in Florence United Methodist Church, Pilsen Community Center, Burns Community Center, and Lincolnville Community Center every other month.

Monthly income limits are $1,580 for one and $2,137 for two.

When the Department on Aging gets extra boxes of commodities, Turk makes the food available to people who need it.

Turk also can help people apply for Medicare savings plans. The program helps pay for Medicare supplements by assisting with the state KanCare program.

Meals at senior centers in Marion, Hillsboro, and Peabody are available for a recommended donation of $4, but no one will be turned away for lack of a donation, Turk said.

Transportation for residents 60 and older is available within a 60-mile radius of Marion.

Last modified June 20, 2024