Today, as we celebrate the first day of spring, the Capital Area Food Bank is making a renewed commitment to provide fresh, nutritious fruit and vegetables to members of our community who are experiencing hunger – many for the first time.
Addressing the need for healthier food in our community, we are issuing an urgent appeal for your support to help us increase the amount of fresh produce we are able to distribute to our more than 700 partner agencies. Please click here to support our fresh produce distribution.
Our goal announced last year on the food bank’s 30th anniversary is the distribution of 30 million pounds of food including 15 million pounds of fresh produce by the end of this fiscal year, or June 30. We have six million pounds to go and we need your support to reach that goal.
Why is the need so critical? Since 2006, hunger in the Washington metro area has increased by 25 percent and with the current rise in food prices, it’s only getting worse. With 1 in 5 children in the metro area struggling with hunger and with so many families having to choose between paying the mortgage, health care, or paying for utilities, it is imperative that we do more to nourish our community.
An alarming rise in health related illnesses such as obesity and diabetes coupled with an increase in the numbers of people who now rely on food assistance has forced emergency food providers such as the Capital Area Food Bank to revise its priorities.
How will we do this and what types of produce will we be seeking? We will continue to use our purchasing power to acquire produce from around the country, but we will also make a concerted effort to develop relationships with local farms, food projects, and wholesalers in order to select a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.
We are asking, “Should emergency food providers focus solely on addressing the symptoms of hunger and ‘filling bellies,’ or improving health outcomes?” Do we now have the added responsibility of ensuring that the most nutritionally at-risk families and individuals receive not just any donated surplus food and beverages, but healthy and nutritious food and beverages?
The answer is a resounding, “yes!”
We believe that the nutritional quality of the food and beverages we distribute is as important as the quantity of food and beverages distributed to those in need. We are reaffirming the food bank’s unwavering 15-year commitment to providing fresh produce.
We will all need to rally together to help develop sustainable funding for this initiative, so we can continue to address the most urgent hunger issues in our community.