County To Distribute Prepaid Grocery Cards And Bus Passes To Senior Citizens

The San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services has purchased and will distribute $240,000 worth of prepaid Stater Brothers grocery debit cards and $232,000 in bus passes to eligible senior citizens.
The county will begin passing those purchasing cards out after the start of the upcoming fiscal year on July 1. The $240,000 worth of grocery cards are intended to remain valid for three years, through June 30, 2019.
According to Ron Buttram, the director of the Aging and Adult Services Department, “As the designated area agency on aging, the Aging and Adult Services Department receives funding for a wide range of programs and supportive services. The issuance of prepaid cards has been a long-standing practice for the Aging and Adult Services Department in order to further its mission to assist seniors in improving or maintaining choice, independence, and quality of life. Prepaid bus passes and grocery debit cards are provided to seniors in need of transportation and food to support their efforts to remain healthy and involved in their communities. Per the auditor-controller/treasurer/tax collector internal controls and cash manual, the purchase and distribution of prepaid cards in an amount of $2,500 or more must be approved by the board of supervisors.
The distribution of prepaid negotiables remains the same as in previous years. The Aging and Adult Services Department anticipates approximately 19,000 bus passes from various vendors and approximately 250 debit cards from Stater Brothers Markets will be issued annually to eligible seniors, dependent upon individual needs and the availability of funding. The cost per client varies based on the individual need of each senior, from a range of $1 to $40 for bus passes and $10 to $50 for grocery debit cards.”
On January 6, 2015, the board of supervisors approved annual distribution of prepaid cards as required by the auditor-controller internal controls and cash manual. The item also approved an agreement with National Gift Card Corporation (NGC) to purchase prepaid gas and debit cards, including Walmart and Target, that met the majority of human services’ needs. However, the NGC agreement did not include transportation needs in the form of bus passes or debit cards for alternative grocery choice to Target and Walmar, and Buttram said the purchase of the cards from Stater Brothers redresses that issue.
“The Aging and Adult Services Department has historically utilized Stater Brothers Markets for grocery debit cards because of their countywide locations (over 50 stores); Stater Brothers Markets typically have reasonable food costs; and Stater Brothers Markets are extremely responsive to the department’s needs,” Buttram said. “This will allow the Aging and Adult Services Department to purchase and distribute prepaid bus passes and debit cards to meet eligible senior’s countywide transportation and food needs that fall outside of the service provisions of the NGC agreement. Vendors for prepaid bus passes will include, but will not be limited to: Needles Area Transit, OmniTrans, Morongo Basin Transit Authority, Mountain Transit and the Victor Valley Transit Authority. Stater Brothers Markets will be the additional vendor of debit cards for food for seniors.
In accordance with the auditor-controller internal controls and cash manual, the Aging and Adult Services Department maintains and ensures adherence to internal policies and procedures regarding safeguards and proper handling of prepaid negotiables.”

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