Philabundance Peas Help Initiative

May 9201012:00 am
www.philabundance.org, , , ,

A harsh winter, the devastating earthquake in Chile, and a rise in fuel prices have compounded to drive up the cost of produce. As a result, normal produce donations to Philabundance are down by 45 percent compared to this time last year. These tight market conditions are expected to remain until at least mid-July, which means less fruits and vegetables are being distributed to people in need of food assistance.

Sixty-five percent of the food that Philabundance distributes is fresh produce. Fresh For All, a Philabundance program that puts produce into the hands of those who need it, has 12 sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and each week provides 2,500 households with fruits and vegetables that are usually too expensive for many families to afford. The shortage means Fresh For All sites will now be limiting their offering to only one or two items, instead of the normal four to six- types of fruits and vegetables.

“It is essential for Philabundance to continue to provide a consistent quantity and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need in the Delaware Valley,” says Bill Clark, Philabundance’s president and executive director. “The people we reach are in communities with the greatest need, who have little or no access to healthy produce. In order to keep delivering healthy food choices we will need to temporarily purchase produce, which we have done only during emergencies like this.”

Fruits and vegetables are typically donated from national and local food manufacturers, wholesalers, growers, importers, retailers, brokers and food distributors. However, while there is still product in stock for brokers and wholesalers across the country, the high cost of the produce combined with the increase in fuel costs make it nearly impossible for companies to donate what they used to.

Philabundance is calling on the community for contributions to the Food Purchase Fund to help buy the fruits and vegetables it needs. To make a monetary donation to the Food Purchase Fund, visit www.philabundance.org.

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