JFS Perspectives

Thursday, June 22, 2017

From the CEO: Fresh Forward!



From the CEO: Fresh Forward!

Jewish Family Service is embarking on an important new initiative. We have committed to provide the highest quality, nutritious food though all our food programs. Considering that JFS distributed the equivalent of more than 345,000 meals in the last year, this is significant.

Why? We believe that everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy food regardless of their income, race, ethnicity, or ZIP code. More nutritious food options play an important role in combating the public health epidemic of obesity and, for kids, has a strong connection to improving student behavior and academic performance.

Our biggest food program is the Weinberg Food Pantry, which provided the equivalent of more than 320,000 meals in 2016. We are aggressively working to purchase more fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products, while limiting the provision of processed foods and foods high in sugar.

We have been partnering with Ekar Farm, which grows a variety of organic vegetables during the summer months. They generously donate tens of thousands of pounds of vegetables to the Weinberg Food Pantry every growing season. We also encourage home gardeners to donate any excess produce to the pantry.

Lunchbox Express is another high-volume food program for JFS. Last year we distributed nearly 32,000 meals to low-income kids during the summer and after school. We have been purchasing shelf-stable prepackaged meals that don’t require refrigeration. We are transitioning to a new vendor that offers fresh lunches, including fresh fruit and dairy offerings. We will need to equip our delivery buses with refrigeration capability, but it’s worth the expense to ensure that kids are getting high-quality food and the nutrition they need and deserve.

Other programs that will be impacted are the meals we provide for seniors. While we always have met nutritional guidelines for older adults, we will focus on more fresh, healthy choices.

JFS is leading the way on the provision of fresh, high-quality food to the clients we are privileged to serve. The health benefits are immeasurable. Are we serving our clients if we serve them poor-quality processed foods? We can do better—and we are.

Shepard NevelShepard Nevel
President & CEO

 

 

 

Header photo from Flickr Creative Commons

 

 



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