Through a new grant from PepsiCo Foundation’s Smiles in Action grant program, North End Waterfront Health’s (NEW Health) Charlestown site will distribute free fresh produce monthly throughout the summer.
The program kicked off at New Health Charlestown on Tufts Street last Thursday with the next event scheduled for June 23.
At last week’s event, NEW Health staff and volunteers handed out bagged fruits and vegetables from local vendors to patients and Charlestown residents as part of their Food Insecurity Program.
Speaking on behalf of New Health, Mary Zanor said PepsiCo recently awarded NEW Health the Smiles in Action Award to support the Food Insecurity Program and donated $5,000 this year to support ongoing fresh produce distributions in the neighborhood.
“The produce distributions will now take place, rain or shine, on the last Thursday of every month at 10 a.m., through August,” said Zanor.
NEW Health’s Food Insecurity Program was established in 2016. NEW Health is Charlestown’s first full-service health center and is committed to improving the quality of health and life for its over 5,000 patients in the neighborhood.
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NEW Health has increased its food insecurity efforts and with the help of the community, has been able to serve over 100 families per month,” said Zanor.
For years the PepsiCo Foundation has been combating worldwide hunger by delivering meals, helping food banks strengthen their operations, providing logistical support and technical expertise in the nutrition field, and supporting long-term food security. Since 2009, the Foundation’s programs and partners have distributed more than 245 million meals.
“In response to hunger challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, we’re working with more than 60 partners, including Feeding America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Global FoodBanking Network and local nonprofits (like NEW Health), to distribute nutritious meals — among other much-needed resources — to people in at-risk populations,” said PepsiCo in a statement.
Zanor said the Community Fridge, also located at NEW Health Charlestown just outside the health center, is open at all times and stocked with free, healthy food for everyone in need.
“We encourage contributions from the community and acceptable food donations,” said Zanor.
These acceptable donations include whole fruits and vegetables, commercially packaged refrigerated foods like eggs, milk, cheese, butter, tortillas, bread, bagged salad, etc. and commercially packaged frozen foods like frozen vegetables, fruits, and prepared meals.