The COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, a partnership program led by The Partnership for a Healthier America and Produce Marketing Association launched in Denver, Colo. with the first delivery of food boxes filled with produce for families in the Denver area. The donations will continue for the next 3 months, providing families with 600,000 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables and education through digital tools to build long-term healthy habits.
The COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund is funded by an anonymous donor, ReFED, Novo Nordisk, and individual donors who contribute through the program’s donation page. The program helps to connect suppliers with fresh products to communities in need, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to creating a sustainable blueprint to identify and transport produce supply, the program is also designed to help families integrate fruits and vegetables into their diets long-term with a series of digital resources. Families receiving PHA Fresh Boxes in Denver will also receive these resources from Zipongo, who will provide complimentary access to its digital platform Foodsmart. This tool includes nutrition assessments with personalized insights, personalized recipes that incorporate produce included in the boxes and discounts on other grocery items available locally.
“The pandemic has added additional stress and uncertainty to those families and communities in need, especially as they wonder where their next meal will come from. The PHA Fresh Boxes will provide relief and sustenance by delivering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with recipes and education, so that consumers can fill their plates with healthful and nutritious food,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns.
Over the next 12 weeks, Denver families will receive PHA Fresh Boxes procured, packed, and delivered by local produce distributor and partner, FreshPoint, adhering to all local, state and federal COVID-19 and food safety guidelines. The boxes are designed to offer balanced nutrition and variety, with a 60-40 ratio of fruits to vegetables.
Food insecurity did not begin with the pandemic and will not end with it either. The COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund is one of many ways the produce industry is providing more access to healthy, nutritious products to those in need. As the program grows to include other cities, it will be a primary goal to build a blueprint for a long-term public-private partnership strategy that helps the produce industry lower food waste, increase access, and drive consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America says: “We have designed the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund to build a bridge to sustainable, affordable retail access to fresh produce that could allow for a true culture of health.”