The World PEAS Food Hub was recognized this year as a Local Champion by Lowell General Hospital for its accomplishments in providing access to fresh, healthy, locally-produced food for low income individuals in Lowell.
World PEAS partners with Bridgewell’s Pathfinder Transitional Living facility, a drop-in center offering a safe place for homeless individuals. Since 2012, Bridgewell and World PEAS have teamed up to bring fresh local produce to individuals served at Pathfinder. In 2014, World PEAS delivered $12,000 worth of produce to Pathfinder’s kitchen, enough to incorporate fresh produce into most of the 3,000 meals served per month. World PEAS subsidized a total of $5,000 of the cost of this produce.
World PEAS partnered with both Project Bread, a Boston-based nonprofit providing solutions for sustainable, reliable access to nutritious food, and Lowell Community Health Center, a diverse, community-based health care agency. In 2014, total of 178 shares were distributed at the Health Center (valued over $4,000) to families who earn less than 50% of the area median income. World PEAS subsidized $2,720 of the cost of this produce.
World PEAS works with all of its 450 CSA members to identify when shares will not be claimed, in order to donate them to the Lowell CTI Women, Infant and Children’s (WIC) Program. WIC is a free program providing healthy foods, nutrition education and breastfeeding support to women, and children under age 5. World PEAS shareholders donated approximately $3,375 of produce to WIC in 2014.
World PEAS also supplies produce under a federal Summer Food Service program for children at CTI’s Child and Family services center. This program helps fill the gap during the summer months when hungry children do not receive food through their school meal programs.
In total, the dollar value of low-income food access impact from World PEAS activity in Lowell for 2014 was $20,760. A total of $11,095 was subsidized by World PEAS and its community of generous shareholders. By reducing the cost, providing convenient access for consumers to collect produce, and by distributing donated produce, World PEAS reduces hunger and increases fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among participant low-income individuals and families.
Stay tuned for upcoming articles regarding 2014 World PEAS food access activities in other communities around Boston. And please consider a donation to our Fresh Food for All fund!