The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Returns to Paterson During COVID-19

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Passaic County Food Policy Council

Since March, the Paterson Public Schools Food Service Department has been doing a phenomenal job in leading a community effort to ensure the district’s 30,000 students have access to breakfast and lunch while the schools remain closed. To date, the district has served more than 400,000 meals. Distribution takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to  1:00 p.m. Parents can pick up two days’ worth of meals on Mondays and three days’ worth of meals on Wednesdays.

In addition, we are excited to announce that on May 11, 2020, the Passaic Food Policy Council partners were able to help the school district reintroduce the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to all eight emergency feeding sites. The FFVP allows elementary school-age children to try a variety of fresh produce that they might not have otherwise had the chance to taste. During the school year, the program operates in 11 of the district’s schools, and now all Paterson public school students will have the opportunity to sample various fruits and vegetables. Each service day will include a different fruit or vegetable. The available produce items include baby carrots, local greens, apples and oranges. With the staggering amount of food waste currently occurring on farms due to disruptions in our food supply chain, and with our commitment to providing access to healthy food during this time, this is an exciting next step.

For more information about the Building a Culture of Health: Blueprint for Action in Passaic County, please contact Mary Celis, Director of Health Initiatives, United Way of Passaic County: or visit our Facebook page: @PassaicFood. Please read more about our progress here: Blueprint for Action Progress Report.

For information regarding Paterson Public Schools’ meal distribution program, please contact David Buchholtz, Executive Director of Food Services:

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Mary Celis
The United Way of Passaic County