LENOX Non-Profit of the Month
Freestore Foodbank's Fresh Produce Initiative
Bringing Fresh Produce to Communities
As Freestore Foodbank works to solve the critical issue of hunger for the 273,060 food insecure residents of our region, increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables is essential.
“I wish I could have fruit and vegetables at every meal,” said a visitor to our Food Room at the Customer Connection Center. “My daughter has high cholesterol. My food stamps just barely cover the basics and there is nothing left for fresh food.”
Over 45% of low-income residents in the 20 counties we serve live more than one mile from the nearest supermarket, making it challenging for people to access healthy foods. Freestore Foodbank is working with our community partner agencies, including Power Pack and School Pantry sites, to increase the amount of produce available.
“Most of our clients don’t have transportation and its $10.50 round trip to take the bus to the closest grocery,” said Kim with MercyWorks/LightShine in Clermont County. “The food we provide sustains them. We have a lot of elderly residents and children who need access to healthy food.”
Pop-up produce mobiles bring at least four varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables to communities across the tristate. These distributions are provided at no cost to our partner agencies and offer up to 20 pounds of produce to each family.
Freestore Foodbank is also using pop-up produce mobiles to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables directly to school sites in order to reach children and their families. This is especially important for School Pantry sites without refrigeration. Some School Pantry sites are planning to offer these pop-ups monthly; others will request them in conjunction with a specific event, like parent-teacher conferences or arts night.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that when your budget is low, you don’t buy produce,” said Cathy, one of our School Pantry site managers. “Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of storage, so we are now getting pop-up produce mobiles every month, and we distribute everything! Our parents love the produce! They always ask when it’s coming again.”
To find out more about how Freestore Foodbank is working to solve hunger or to see how you can get involved, visit www.freestorefoodbank.org.
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