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Grantee Blog 2020

APPLE PROGRAM

2020 is the year of the APPLE in Bergen County.  In June 2020, Bergen County will kick off the APPLE Program (Assistance Purchasing Produce Locally and Economically) to bring together small communities where seniors over age 60 and younger people under 60, who have chronic disease and disabilities, co-reside and congregate. Many members of these communities have limited access to fresh produce, and often deal with food insecurity.  Through the generosity of the NJ Healthy Communities Network and Russ Berrie Foundation, these communities will have the opportunity to gain better access to fresh, affordable fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and join together to build relationships with their neighbors.  To help accomplish this goal, an APPLE Mobile Farmers Markets will travel around Bergen County to these communities.

The APPLE Mobile Farmers Market will bring seasonal fresh produce at a reduced price to targeted buildings, share resources, and give community members a tool and opportunity to not only shop but to interact, exchange experiences, gain new knowledge, and learn about other services available. A knowledgeable consumer can make healthier food choices that may lead to better physical health, feeling more secure and in control, and a happier life.

Farmers Market in Hackensack, picture taken in 2008

Unfortunately, 2020 will also go down in history as the year of COVID-19.

It has been challenging for everyone to shop and obtain a variety of foods to eat well, but especially so for those who are at high-risk and must stay-at home.

We, Bergen County Division of Senior & Disability Services, have been in crisis mode, since the beginning of March, making sure everyone who needs and requests Bergen County Meals on Wheels, receives at least one nutritious meal a day.  Through this experience, we recognize the need for fresh produce in our diet, and nutritional education on how to eat healthy when foods and money are scarce; we understand the challenges to accessing services, including grocery shopping, when computer literacy and internet access is limited; and the negative effects of social isolation on mental health.  The APPLE Program will work to fill the gaps identified by building connections between the community and our partners, so those who are most at need can benefit.

About the Grantee

County of Bergen, Division of Senior Services

The Division of Senior Services is the primary planning, coordinating and funding agency for senior programs and services, promoting the well-being, health and independence of Bergen County’s more than 220,000 older adults. The Division of Senior Services is the lead agency for the Bergen County’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC).