Hundreds of families receive fresh fruits and vegetables

Hundreds of families receive fresh fruits and vegetables

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - More than 500 families now have fresh and healthy foods to add to their refrigerators and pantries.

Feeding the Gulf Coast teamed up with the Mississippi Public Health Institute, Society of St. Andrew, Rouses Supermarket and other local partners for a Produce Drop at First Baptist Church of Biloxi on Saturday.

It was all about creating healthier families on the Coast.

“We know with the population that we serve that is food insecure, that traditionally, they don’t have as much access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. There’s a cost issue. There’s access to a grocery store, and our mission at Feeding the Gulf Coast is not only to feed the 1 in 6 that are struggling with hunger but to make sure that we are feeding them healthy product," said Feeding the Gulf Coast Produce Strategy Manager Cindy Bloom.

The Produce Drop was just one way the Mississippi Public Health Institute’s hopes to close health gaps among racial and ethnic minority groups through a five-year REACH grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We know that our residents don’t eat enough fresh produce. They have a lot of packaged goods that are high in sodium and high in fat, so we want to increase their intake of fresh produce and give them access to it because many tell us that they can’t afford fresh produce, so this is something that we can do to help them," said Jacienda Roach, program director with the Mississippi Public Health Institute.

Volunteers said they know this will make a big difference for families.

“Just a simple impact of just literally putting produce in a bag and that’s going to help somebody, help feed their families, that’s a huge mission. I’m glad I could help. It’s very impactful," said Katie Weldon.

“They’re very thankful. They said this is definitely going to help their family, so I’m glad we were able to provide produce and different products for them and their household," said Karisma Slusher.

For more information on food assistance through Feeding the Gulf Coast, visit their website.

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