Feeding America Partners with the Southeast Regional Cooperative to Bring Hand Held Fruit Options to Member Food Banks
Chris Flint, Executive Director, Southeast Regional Cooperative
With the summer break coming to a close for millions of youngsters across the country, it is important to remember that for many students the return to school is a return to one of their most stable sources of nutrition. The meals enjoyed during the school year are often not replaced at home during the summer for the 13 million children under that age of 18 (that’s 1 in 6 children) that are food insecure. Food Banks across the nation kick into overdrive throughout the summer trying to bridge this gap by providing nutritious food in partnership with agencies that provide summer feeding programs for these youth during the break. And this summer the Southeast Regional Cooperative tried something new to help.
During this summer school break, with the help of a generous grant from Feeding America, the Southeast Regional Cooperative was able to pilot and successfully test it’s Summer Hand Held Produce Program. With funding from Feeding America’s generous donors we were able to provide a quarter of a million pounds of fresh hand held produce such as oranges, pears, apricots, and nectarines to our member food banks for their partner agencies serving these students. During the period of time in question, it is only possible to source adequate quantities of certain hand held fruits from Texas, California and a few other states in the Western U.S. Freight costs normally make it impossible for these items to be purchased by food banks in the Southeast. The grant funding made available by Feeding America made it possible to offset this higher cost so that our member food banks were able to enjoy this beautiful product (see pictures) at a cost equivalent to that of more locally available produce. Considering the increased carbon footprint involved in this transaction, for every load that came from outside the Southeast, an additional seven loads were sourced from Georgia, Florida, or the Carolinas.
Thank you Feeding America for all you do! Here’s to a great new school year!