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Senior Citizens Make Fruit-and-Veg Traffic Jam in Glendale

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Photo of colorful farmers market carrots by hinducow via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

The Glendale Farmer's Market was the scene of an unlikely invasion yesterday, as senior citizens bused in from all over the San Fernando Valley showed up to trade in the vouchers issued to them by the state for fresh produce. According to the Glendale News-Press, approximately 500 seniors caused "near gridlock" on the sidewalk of Brand Boulevard and kept vendors on their toes. Many of the folks came "from independent assisted-living homes or were living alone on fixed incomes," and were issued each a booklet of state Department of Public Health vouchers worth $20, but only redeemable at local farmers markets.

The goal of the program is to help nourish the elderly population, but in order for the program to be successful those people need to spend their vouchers--a hard thing to do when getting around town can be a challenge for even the most youthful and mobile of Angelenos. The News-Press explains that "Los Angeles City Council members Tony Cardenas, Richard Alarcon and Wendy Greuel appropriated the funding for the bus transportation to Glendale," to help get the seniors to the stands to do their spending. The enterprise had a sense of urgency, since the vouchers expire at the end of next month and "the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Coalition [is trying] to double its state allotment to 2,400 vouchers for the next yearly cycle, which starts in December."

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Getting a voucher booklet and a seat on the bus wasn't just a matter of being in your golden years; the organizers actually had to screen the seniors to help decide who could get a voucher. Although they were overwhelmed, the vendors, the market, and the City of Glendale came up just as much winners as all the old folks and their golden tickets.