From launching in October of 2021 to now, our Fresh Food Program has continued to expand its reach coast to coast. In just the first few months of the program launch, Move For Hunger delivered over 700,000 pounds of fresh food in collaboration with our network. In 2022, our network helped us deliver over 1.8 million pounds to the communities who needed it most.
From working with local agencies in Providence, Rhode Island to provide cold storage for freshly caught fish, to partnering with farms across the nation to offer temporary cold storage solutions, to working hand-in-hand with organizations like Society of St. Andrew and America’s Grow-a-Row to collect the food in the field and organize the transportation, the Move For Hunger network has been working hard to ensure no produce was left behind.
Many assume that with colder weather comes less crops to harvest - but they couldn’t be more wrong. Late September to early December is one of the busiest seasons for many farmers! Since most crops are planted in the spring season and allowed to grow during the summer months, autumn is the time when crops are finally ready to be harvested. This Fall, our network has worked hard to provide more than 530,000 lbs of fresh food donations to communities in need across the nation.
Brr, It’s Getting Cold In Here
Last September, Move For Hunger learned of a need in Rhode Island for a cold storage solution to house nearly 4,000 lbs of fish every week. In response, we committed to providing a permanent cold storage unit at a more centralized location to house and distribute fresh fish to agencies in Providence and the surrounding area. Farm Fresh Rhode Island offered space in their parking lot, and together with CFCRI, Eating With the EcoSystem, and UNFI, the Seafood Donation Program was implemented. A year later, the program has provided nearly 90,000 lbs of seafood for Rhode Island’s indigenous and immigrant communities.
Another essential fresh food partner that utilizes cold storage is America’s Grow-a-Row (AGAR). For the third year in a row, Move For Hunger has partnered with the fellow New Jersey-based nonprofit to bring fresh produce to local food banks and pantries this harvest season. AGAR grows, gleans, and gives away fresh produce by organizing groups to harvest from their farms and partner farms - which is where Move For Hunger steps in. Our partnership so far in 2023 has provided nearly 250,000 lbs of fresh produce to communities in need in the northeast.
By creatively partnering with like-minded organizations, and applying transportation and cold storage solutions, we are successfully capturing viable healthy food and redirecting it to the people who really need it. There is enough food for everyone, we just need to apply a little ingenuity, resources, and teamwork to bring them together.-
Squash, Sweet Potatoes, and Bananas, Oh My!
Since the Fresh Food Program began in 2021, Society of St. Andrew has grown to be an incredible partner with fresh food recovery, including some of the recent bulk produce distributions where we are seeing a fun variety of fruits and vegetables. Between potato drops, melons of all varieties, bulk banana donations, and so many more, our partnership has provided more than 1.6 million pounds of fresh food so far this year.
We kicked off the season with a few potato drops, organizing 5 separate potato deliveries for schools, churches, and food banks. In total this season, more than 160,000 lbs of potatoes have been provided to food insecure families. Potatoes are a great crop for donations because they’re easy to grow and are packed with nutrition. A typical potato contains over half the day’s requirement of vitamins C and B6, and almost half of the potassium.
Another fall harvest crop frequently donated are squash varieties, which are typically high in fiber, vitamin A and potassium (making them a great source of nutrition in the winter)! So far this Fall, Society of St Andrew and Move For Hunger have organized more than 60,000 lbs of squash deliveries in Florida and Tennessee.
While we love a good veggie drop, we have also had the opportunity to coordinate a few fresh fruit deliveries to communities in need. In September, over 28,800 watermelons were delivered from Delaware to Maryland, where they were then delivered to a local elementary school and a food bank. Over 19,000 lbs of bananas were also donated in Georgia and transported to Florida, where Minary's Dream Alliance then distributed the fruit to local communities.
Last (but not least), BrighterBites and Move For Hunger recently teamed up to transport fresh mixed produce donated by Capital Area Food Bank in Washington D.C. From that partnership, over 30,500 pounds of produce have been distributed to 12 schools in the Metro D.C. area, providing nutritious and fresh produce to local school children.
As you can see, our partners around the nation continuously work together to fight food insecurity. With over 53 million Americans living in food deserts and struggling to access fresh produce, we work day in and out to find ways to provide for all communities with the inability to receive the fresh food that they need. To find out more about our Fresh Food Program, visit us here.
Check out some of our favorite pictures from this harvest season below!