This article is part two to the August 2018 Growing Up Fresh newsletter article “The Value of Fresh for Homelesss Kids,” which told the story of Youth Service Bureau’s (YSB) United Fresh Start Foundation grant implementation. Inspired by YSB’s story, we invited Christina to speak at FreshStart 2019, the United Fresh Start Foundation’s annual event. We caught up with her shortly after the event to capture her experience.
United Fresh Start Foundation community grants are more than a $2,500 contribution to a nonprofit organization to help increase kids’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The grants are a gateway to true immersion into the fresh produce industry.
Youth Service Bureau’s (YSB) holistic approach to health for their South Bend, Indiana community clients—including providing serving fresh produce regularly—caught United Fresh Start Foundation’s eye when reviewing their grant application. After the grant was ultimately awarded, United Fresh spoke with Christina about YSB’s work providing crisis intervention services for runaway and homeless teens and young adults. It was clear that the produce industry needed to hear their story on a national stage.
Christina McGovern, Director of Development & Marketing at Youth Service Bureau, was excited about the opportunity to share her organization’s transformative story in front of hundreds across the supply chain during the FreshStart 2019 conference, January 17, in La Quinta, CA.
Her presentation caught the attention of everyone in the room.
“Runaway and homeless youth who have experienced significant trauma, abuse, neglect, unstable housing, and the effects of poverty, is a population that many don’t consider, noted Christina. “I think our story at FreshStart 2019 of how incorporating fresh produce and stressing holistic health helps fill the void in these kids’ lives, was very inspirational.”
Christina enjoyed the networking opportunities with the produce industry, as she was sure to make the most of her FreshStart 2019 experience.
“It’s so beneficial any time you have the opportunity to interact one-on-one on a personal level with professionals in other areas of interest,” said Christina. “Everyone hails from different backgrounds—schools, farms, restaurants, trucking and logistics, retailers — and we’re able to share ideas and look for ways to collaborate to serve the next generation of produce consumers.”
Christina found value in the other FreshStart 2019 conference sessions, including keynote speaker Chef Dan Giusti of Brigaid, who shared how his team of trained chefs serves 4,000 students each day in six schools.
Christina credited FreshStart 2019 for the motivation to look for even more ways she could get involved in the produce industry.
“My FreshStart 2019 experience opened my eyes to an entire other industry I maybe hadn’t thought about much before, acknowledged Christina. “Specifically, the FreshStart conference gave me insights and sparked ideas for potential collaborations in social enterprises. Now, I’ll actively be on the lookout for a new partnership!”
By: Ben Massoud, Communications Manager, United Fresh Produce Association
Interested in applying for a 2019 United Fresh Start Foundation grant? The application process opens this Spring! For more information, contact Kate Olender, Senior Director Health & Wellness, United Fresh Produce Association, at 202-303-3420.