With the school year fast approaching, the Community FoodBank of NJ and Woodbine Elementary are gearing up for the Fresh Food Market kick-off in September. In March of this past year, the Fresh Food Market launched as a concept linking family enrichment with food distribution. In an effort to not only provide access to healthy items such as fresh fruit and produce, the initiative creates opportunities for physical activity by inviting families to participate in games and educational programming that promote healthy living. Families receive food at the end of each monthly event and are asked to provide documentation of the healthy meals that they create. By doing so, stigma associated with receiving donated food is reduced.
This coming year, leadership is looking to involve the local green team, which oversees Sustainable Jersey efforts, the Cape May Health Department, and Cape Assist to increase resources provided to the school community. The ultimate goal is for Woodbine Elementary’ s all-purpose to become a food-based community center with social service offerings to ease any stress associated with the lack of accessibility due to public transportation options being scarce. In August, a meeting will be held inviting all stakeholders to discuss partnership opportunities, duties, goals, and themes for each month’s distribution event.
On average, 65 households participate, while 260 people are reached. Prior to implementation, a survey was conducted to develop a better understanding of the need that exists within the community. OF 72 people surveyed, 56 stated they only prepare 1 meal per day due to their resources, 43 stated they have a hard time preparing a well-balanced meal, and 60 stated that they are in need of nutrition education. Moving forward, we will conduct a follow up survey.
“There are seven mouths to feed in my home, two of them are teenage boys so it gets expensive. I buy the basics and instead of fresh fruits and vegetables I buy can food and a lot of pasta and rice to stretch. When I came to the food market yesterday I felt like I was in a gourmet market with all the fresh vegetables, mangos and the salad blends. The best part was that I didn’t have to avoid that isle, I could get so many things that I would never be able to afford. I like feeding my kids fresh but most times it is not affordable and I don’t want to try new things because if my kids don’t like it I wasted a lot of money. The market is a blessing.”-Testimonial
About the Grantee
We fight hunger and poverty in New Jersey by assisting those in need and seeking long-term solutions. We engage, educate and empower all sectors of society in the battle.