It might not seem like a huge deal, but it is. This week there will be free fresh produce available in McPherson as result of a partnership between the Kansas Food Bank and McPherson County Food Bank.
“Fresh produce is so expensive,” said Debi Kreutzman, Community Relations Manager for the Kansas Food Bank.
According to the USDA, a lack of access to fresh, healthy foods can contribute to poor diets and higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases. A growing number of children in the United States—one in three between the ages of 2 and 19, according to peer-reviewed studies collected by the White House’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity —are overweight or obese. Food access is about more than whether there are grocery stores in a community — McPherson has those. Again according to the USDA, access also has to do with whether households can afford to purchase food—and affordability is closely related to rates of employment and job quality.
That’s why there are no income guidelines for produce distribution via mobile produce truck from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Oct. 11 at the foodbank located at 707 S Main, McPherson.
“Maybe they have had a higher medical expense this month, or had to have a car repaired. We try and make the mobile pantries as accessible as possible,” Kreutzman said. “We find that with the more barriers you throw up for people, a lot are just too proud to go and ask for help. ”
Kreutzman said that a similar distribution in Wichita will serve upwards of 200 families — in about half an hour. Not having paperwork to fill out or income guidelines to meet makes it quick.
Friday guests will check in with the number of people in their household, telling the number of senior citizens and children in the household.
This is the second time the mobile produce pantry will stop in McPherson, making a stop in August and serving about 100 households. The truck will make stops in five cities Friday — McPherson, Salina, Abilene, Junction City and Council Grove are all on the list.
“We want this to be successful because we want to come back,” Kreutzman said. “In our research in maps and meal information, we know that the need is there. It is just getting people out to it.”
Items available will be apples, grapes and potatoes. The Kansas Food Bank will be delivering the product to the McPherson County Food Bank first thing Friday morning. McPherson is the first stop of five locations for the Mobile Produce Pantry.
“We are committed to purchasing some produce … we have a schedule that we will make drops in all of these communities for anyone that is in need of food assistance,” Kreutzman said.
The organizations hope to serve 100 households during this special distribution in McPherson. Produce is one of the first items that is passed up by households with limited budgets when grocery shopping. It is one of the most perishable and most expensive.
"We are very excited to bring the mobile produce pantry truck back to McPherson" Kreutzman said. "The McPherson Food Bank is a great partner agency of ours and we are happy to work with them on this special project."
The distribution will be first come, first served.
For additional information contact Kreutzman at the Kansas Food Bank 316-265-3663.