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Fresh Connect is Bucks County’s latest food distribution initiative

News Source: Bucks County Courier Times

By: Tyler Miles

It’s no secret low-income families have trouble affording healthy foods, but a new Bucks County food program hopes to make that easier for them.

Fresh Connect, a free farmers market-like distribution initiative, will provide people in need with fresh fruits and vegetables. It launches at noon Friday, at the Lower Bucks campus of Bucks County Community College on Veterans Highway in Bristol Township and will take place weekly year round, except in cases of severe weather.

“We know that in Bucks County there are a lot of families who can’t put food on the table every day of the month; the resources just don’t stretch enough,” said Eileen Albillar, community connections manager with the Bucks County Opportunity Council. “They may not be as visible, but there are certainly many, many families we serve every year.”

While the goal is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income families, “all are welcome,” said Stefanie Arck-Baynes, spokeswoman for Philabundance, which will provide the food for Fresh Connect. That includes students from the college, as well.

“Because we know there is this need, we want people to take advantage of it,” she said.

The BCOC is the lead on the program, which is a partnership with Philabundance, Rolling Harvest Food Rescue and St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown, with support from United Way of Bucks County.

St. Mary staff and volunteers will set up on-site and provide shoppers with nutritional education and cooking demonstrations.

“Sometimes folks are not used to eating certain fruits and vegetables, so this will help them get accustomed to them,” said Joann Dorr, program coordinator at St. Mary.

People interested just need to bring their own shopping bags and show up a little early to register. The amount of food each person is allowed to take is based on their household size. So, for example, a parent with three children will receive more than a person living alone.

An additional distribution site in Upper Bucks County is tentatively scheduled to launch in late May, but that site is yet to be determined.

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