More low-income families have access to fresh produce this summer

Published: Aug. 13, 2017 at 11:16 PM CDT
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Dubuque Food Pantry directors say more low-income families have access to fresh fruits and vegetables this summer. And that is in part due to a recent spike in people donating goodies from their gardens.

Inside the Dubuque Food Pantry, Director Theresa Caldwell, is happy to be dealing with a good problem. This summer a plethora of people have been donating fresh fruits and vegetables. And low-income families are taking all of this home.

"500 pounds of produce have gone out per wee," said Caldwell.

Suddenly, eligible families have easy accesses to this locally grown food.

"We have too many canned green beans that have been donated. We now have fresh ones that people can take home and try and see the difference between the fresh ones and the canned ones," said Caldwell.

Carolyn Schref runs the Dubuque Recuse Mission's garden. She also sells her own locally grown produce.

"I've had a surplus of tomatoes, tomatoes, cabbage," said Scherf.

That's why she recently donated a few dozen pounds of vegetables to the Dubuque Food Pantry. She was one of 50 people or organizations that have donated fresh produce to the food pantry this summer. And she's thrilled to do it.

"Unfortunately, healthy food is often the last thing on their list," said Scherf.

But Schref hopes, this easy and free access to fruits and vegetables will change the the way low-income families eat. But they also expect it to change the way they think.

"It's so neat to see, sometimes I''ll have a child come in and they'll go right for the apples and grab an apple and start eating it," said Caldwell.

A change that starts with just one bite.