Hunger Action Month: Fruit and vegetable program benefits Avoca woman

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BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – After major heart issues, Robin Derick has made it a point to get her health on track.

In order to receive free produce weekly from the Turning Point Fresh Farmacy fruit and vegetable prescription program, she participates in a specialized health plan developed by Keuka Family Practice, where her doctor wrote her a prescription for fresh produce.

Derick being a heart attack survivor receives only $778 a month in disability. A small increase in her disability payment resulted in a decrease in her Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, leaving her with fewer funds to purchase the good foods her health demands.

“My biggest issue was that I could not afford to eat right and just what they give you is amazing,” said Robin Derick. “For the most part I eat that and a few other things,” added Derick.

The Fresh Farmacy prescription program was made last fall by Turning Point, which is a Food Bank partner agency in Bath. They look to develop an innovative way to combat emergency food delivery and the nutritional needs of people with low incomes.

According to a Pantry Coordinator at Turning Point, many individuals cannot afford to buy healthy foods.

“People on SNAP can’t afford healthy foods because for whatever reason healthy foods cost more,” said Turning Point Pantry Coordinator Joanna Gleason.

In the Southern Tier, more than 72,000 people struggle with hunger and may not know where they’ll find their next meal. Hunger affects many people in our region, including those who work full-time jobs, disabled individuals, seniors, and children.

38% of the people we serve are children; 18% are seniors. That is why, this September, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier joins Feeding America food banks across the country to take part in Hunger Action Month and inspire people to take action and raise awareness of the fact that 40 million Americans, including 12.5 million children and 5.5 million seniors, are food insecure.

This year’s campaign seeks 40,000 actions – a volunteer shift, a social media post, or a donation – from the public that will help end hunger one helping at a time. Log on to the Food Bank to learn how. “It’s vital to the health of our community that the people we serve have access to enough food to reach their full potential and thrive; especially our children, who cannot grow, succeed or learn when they’re hungry,” said Natasha R. Thompson, President & CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

“People facing hunger could be our neighbors, kids in our children’s classes and others, often much closer than we think. We hope our community will join us in taking one small action to help build and sustain hunger-free communities in the Southern Tier.”

On Hunger Action Day – September 12 – the Food Bank will take local legislators and policymakers on a Hunger Tour, demonstrating the need and the solutions offered in Chemung County. Later that day, 15 local businesses will come to the Food Bank warehouse for Leader of the Pack, a corporate packing challenge presented by Mengel Metzger Barr & Company.

September marks the twelfth year the Feeding America network has organized this annual call to action. To learn more about the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and other ways you can get involved for Hunger Action Month, click here.

You can also join the conversation by posting photos or stories to social media with #HungerActionMonth, @foodbanksoutherntier and @FeedingAmerica.

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