To help older New Yorkers stay home and safe from COVID-19, Explorers youth participants will redeem produce vouchers, on behalf of older adults, and deliver goods to their homes.
New York, NY -- Starting this weekend, youth from the NYPD Explorers program will be helping our City’s older adults receive fresh fruits and vegetables through a redemption service partnership with New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA), both city agencies announced today. The partnership will help older adults redeem vouchers they have received from annual Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), a federally funded initiative that provides low-income older adults with access to fresh, locally-grown produce at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands. This year, due to COVID-19, DFTA is enlisting the help of City youth from the NYPD Explorers program to help vulnerable older adults exchange the vouchers at nearby farmers’ markets and farm stands, on their behalf, and deliver the produce safely to their homes.
"This is NYC at its best - our City's youngest helping their elders and showing what is possible when two of NYC's assets, older adults and youth, join forces. For years, older New Yorkers have relied on these vouchers to get nutritious, fresh produce from local farmers markets, and thanks to these young men and women, this year will be no different," said DFTA Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. "I would like to thank the City Police Department, the NYPD Explorers program, and youth participants for their commitment to their communities and for helping older New Yorkers."
The partnership kicked off on Friday with a launch event at the Harvest Home Metropolitan Hospital Farmers' Market in East Harlem. Through the redemption service partnership, young Explorers will be picking up vouchers along with a check list of requested fruits and vegetables, followed by picking up items from the market and delivering them to the seniors. The redemption service partnership will be available in precinct districts where most eligible program applicants reside and where local farmers' markets and farm stands are available.
"This is yet another incredible example of how City agencies have come together to ensure all New Yorkers are cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic. By securing fresh produce for our seniors, our Explorers are stepping in to take care of their most vulnerable neighbors. At a very young age, our Explorers are exhibiting the kind of compassion and service that exemplifies the Department's core values," said NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Jeffrey B. Maddrey
"Many of our older adults continue to be food insecure and today's partnership launch with the NYPD Explorers and DFTA is a multi-generational approach that addresses this issue," said Council Member Diana Ayala. "I want to thank DFTA for thinking outside of the box, and launching this program. I am certain that it will help make isolated older adults happy, while ensuring they have access to fresh fruits and vegetables."
The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program helps promote good nutrition and access to locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income older adults across the City. Applicants over the age of 60, who meet income requirements, receive vouchers to exchange for fresh, local fruits, vegetables and herbs at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands. In addition to providing nutritious, fresh produce, the SFMNP initiative helps support local farmers, farmers' markets, farm stands, and mobile markets.
For more information, or to apply to the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, visit nyc.gov/aging, or call Aging Connect at 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469).
About the Department for the Aging
The New York City Department for the Aging works to eliminate ageism and ensure the dignity and quality of life of New York City's diverse 1.7 million older adults. DFTA also works to support caregivers through service, advocacy, and education. DFTA is the largest area agency on aging in the United States.
About the NYPD Explorers
The Law Enforcement Explorers program provides young men and women from the city's diverse communities with an introduction to a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. The program, geared for ages 14 to 20, often results in strengthening ties between the community and police. Explorers are taught the importance of higher education, self-discipline, and respect for diversity and human dignity through training, involvement in community service projects, and other Exploring events.