By: Kate Olender, Senior Director, Health & Wellness, United Fresh Produce Association
Across the five boroughs of New York City, 400,000 children do not always know when or where they will eat their next meal. Fortunately, there’s City Harvest, an organization whose Fruit Bowl program provides children with daily fresh fruit and vegetables and that the foundation supported with a 2017 United Fresh Start Foundation Community Grant.
Grant funds enabled City Harvest to provide children with more than 5,260 pounds of apples, pineapples, pears, and other items in Fruit Bowl snacks. The Fruit Bowl program will reach over 6,600 children in 83 Head Starts, pre-schools and afterschool care sites in New York City this year.
The United Fresh Start Foundation selected City Harvest for a Community Grant in part because of its comprehensive approach to increasing children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables. While Foundation funds support the Fruit Bowl program specifically, that program is part of the organization’s Healthy Neighborhoods initiative, which focuses on high-need neighborhoods that have high rates of poverty and limited access to healthy food. The initiative includes 15 mobile fresh produce distribution sites, 90 partnerships with food retailers, and nutrition education.
Through City Harvest’s model, children not only eat fresh fruits and vegetables during an out-of-school program, but their families and communities are supported in increasing access overall, extending the impact of the Fruit Bowl program and setting each child on a path to lifelong healthy eating.
The program is working. A parent from the Bronx reflects on the Fruit Bowl program, “Instead of grabbing junk food from the kitchen cabinets or other quick things to snack on, we now grab fruits.” With the help of the United Fresh Start Foundation and City Harvest, kids in New York City’s most vulnerable communities are Growing Up Fresh.