Connecticut Food Bank is helping low-income families with young children gain access to healthy food and nutrition education through the new GROW Up with Good Nutrition initiative. Thanks to a grant of $250,000 a year for three years from Stop & Shop’s Our Family Foundation, Connecticut Food Bank’s “GROW!” Truck travels to early childhood, preschool, daycare and Head Start Programs in New Haven, Hamden and Bridgeport on a regular basis.
The “GROW!” Truck’s newest location is Centro San Jose in New Haven, and Harris & Tucker Preschool in Hamden. It started visiting ABCD Head Start programs in Bridgeport earlier this year. Serving as a healthy “food pantry” on wheels, the “GROW!” Truck is a customized, refrigerated vehicle with shelves that are loaded with items such as apples, pears, grapefruit, oranges, potatoes, onions, carrots, low-fat milk, peanut butter, brown rice, tuna, ground beef and fish.
Families enrolled in the program attend a brief nutrition or financial education workshop before boarding the truck to “shop” for food. They also receive information on how to prepare foods that are unfamiliar to them.
“By providing more than 200 young families with fresh, nutritious foods, our hope is to increase the nutrition content of each participating household’s meals,” said Nancy L. Carrington, Connecticut Food Bank President & CEO. “Through the generosity of Stop & Shop, we are able to expand the nutritional value of meals they prepare at home, while educating the youngsters about good nutrition that will last a lifetime.”
“Programs of this nature underscore Stop & Shop’s commitment to the communities we serve and families who are in need,” said Don Sussman, president of Stop & Shop New York Metro Division. “The close relationships that Stop & Shop has built with these neighborhood-based organizations allow us to make sure that every dollar we donate will be spent wisely by organizations who are experts in the fight against child hunger.”