Anyone who has been having pangs of guilt because they don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables will no longer have an excuse in Three Rivers. Beginning this month, fresh produce will be delivered to the community, and it will be available for free to all residents.
And anyone who has been having pangs of hunger because they simply don’t have enough to eat will have first dibs on this free produce that will be available on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month beginning May 25.
This “Farm to Family” program, administered by the California Association of Food Banks, is the nation’s leading produce recovery program. It connects California growers and packers with the state’s established food bank networks.
These members of agriculture donate, or sell at a reduced rate, fruits and vegetables that cosmetically are not up to retail standards and would otherwise go to waste. The produce is instead trucked to food banks statewide, where volunteers sort and distribute it to about 5,000 nonprofit agencies that assist more than two million hungry people each year.
Locally, the Fresno Community Food Bank will deliver 15 pallets of fresh fruits and vegetables to the Three Rivers Bread Basket on the fourth Wednesday of each month. The Bread Basket, which has recently purchased a commercial-sized refrigerator that will greatly assist with storage of the produce, will distribute the bounty twice a month.
Bread Basket food pantry customers will be able to pick up their food, including fresh produce, beginning at 8 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Community produce distribution will begin at 9 a.m. Distribution will continue until 11 a.m. for everyone.
“We are excited to offer this opportunity to the entire community,” said Elizabeth LaMar, Three Rivers Bread Basket program manager. “We will be receiving a large amount of produce so don’t be shy. Come and load up on fresh fruits and veggies.”
The Three Rivers Bread Basket distribution to low-income families and senior citizens can fluctuate from between 50 to 75 households. Except for special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, most of the food distributed is nonperishable. That’s why this program, a farmers’ market-style distribution, is such a novelty and will provide enhanced nourishment.
“It’s not just about calories to survive,” said Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary. “It’s about nutrition to thrive.”
It is estimated that one in four children in California deal with food insecurity, which is defined as a lack of access to enough food because of a lack of financial resources.
For more information, or to assist with distribution of the produce, call Elizabeth LaMar, 561-4154.