Putting Fresh, Nutritious Food in Reach

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, but every month of the year CFBNJ is working to get more healthy produce to hungry people who need it to lead better lives.  Results of our Hunger Study 2014 make it clear that hunger is a health issue.  75 percent of the clients we serve tell us they’ve purchased inexpensive, unhealthy food as a way to cope with their lack of money and access to healthy food.  57 percent have a household member with high blood pressure, and 28 percent have a household member who’s been diagnosed with diabetes.  And many are forced to make tough choices, with 73 percent saying they’ve had to choose between paying for medicine or food.  With the help of our supporters, CFBNJ is making a big difference.  Last year, we distributed almost 6.9 million pounds of fresh produce.  When you add in frozen and canned produce, we distributed more than 11.5 million pounds of fruits and vegetables.  We’re on track to increase those numbers this year, and along with those big-scale efforts are smaller ones that also directly touch the lives of those in need.  Our Southern Branch in Egg Harbor Township now has a dozen raised fruit and vegetable beds behind the building.  Our thanks to the AtlantiCare Foundation and the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, which are supporting the garden and have donated supplies and soil. Many thanks as well to the volunteers who’ve pitched in to help bring this space to life!  The beds will be yielding cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, yellow squash, and strawberries.  There’s also a variety of herbs being grown.  All of the produce from the garden will be harvested and distributed through our Community Assistance Pantry on-site at CFBNJ’s Southern Branch.