Celebrating the Milestones and Impact of the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund
February 25, 2021
In the wake of COVID-19, the Partnership for a Healthier America started the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund to bring fresh produce to economically disadvantaged communities. The program has had an incredible impact in high need communities since deployment just under a year ago. We are excited to share with you the program’s recent milestones and impact on communities served.
Milestones and Impact of the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund:
2 Million Servings of Fresh Produce Provided to Communities in Need
Since the program first deployed in Denver, Colorado in May of 2020, we have surpassed 2 million servings of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed to communities in need. Communities in Colorado received 1.8 million servings of fresh produce while communities in New York received 240,000 servings.
What type of produce did participants receive? Participants received boxes built to provide two to three servings of produce per person per day, with a 60-40 ratio of vegetables to fruits. Depending on seasonality, produce provided in boxes included but was not limited to russet potatoes, oranges, apple, roma tomatoes, summer squash, romaine hearts, and pears.
Program Expands to Aurora, Colorado
In February 2021, we announced the latest expansion of the Fresh Food Fund to Aurora. In partnership with ACTION Zone at Aurora Public Schools, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Aurora Public Housing, Aurora families will receive over 15,000 boxes of fresh produce.
Understanding Perceived Barriers to Consumption
In a survey of program participants, we learned that the main barrier to eating more fruits and vegetables was cost. 61% of participants said fruits and vegetables cost too much followed by 34% of participants who said fruits and vegetables often spoil before they can eat them. The high cost of fruits and vegetables, coupled with concern over short shelf life, are the biggest perceived barriers to consuming more produce for families who have been hit hard economically by the pandemic.
Creating Opportunities for Food Retailers to Make a Difference
Despite survey participants saying fruits and vegetables cost too much, 50% of participants in Denver reported a willingness to pay the wholesale price of the PHA Fresh Box, and 91% of participants in Rochester said they would buy more fruits and vegetables if they cost less, suggesting there is significant unmet marketplace demand. We look forward to continuing our work with food retailers to create opportunities to meet this demand at an affordable price point for economically disadvantaged communities.
Learn More and Support the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund
To learn more about the program’s milestones, impact on communities served, and how we are working with food retailers to meet the unmet marketplace demand for affordable fresh produce, check out our COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund fact sheet.
We are grateful for the generous support received throughout the program from the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), ReFED, Novo Nordisk, Wegmans, the New York State Health Foundation, and individual donors.
If you would like to help us continue providing relief to families during the COVID-19 pandemic while building long term sustainable bridges to retail access for fresh food, please consider donating to the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund.