Food bank focuses on fresh food - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Food bank focuses on fresh food

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You've always heard how food banks take mostly non-perishable foods so they don't go bad. Now, FeedMore is moving more towards offering fresh meet and products for a variety of reasons.

It will always accept canned goods, but leaders have identified a way to work with farmers and other donors to provide people with food that may otherwise go bad. They say it saves money too.

At a time when non-perishable donations are slim, staff at the food bank say it's a perfect opportunity to offer people fresh food that's already out there. Chief Operations Manager Norm Gold says it's teaming up with local donors to provide a healthy, affordable option.

"It's an opportunity for the donors and the volunteers and getting the right food out to the right people," said Gold.

That includes Sandy Baytops who travels about 50 miles from Tappahannock to pick up food for her community kitchen outreach. Even though this means more frequent visits, she says the health benefits are well worth it.

"It's just better for peoples' diets to have fresh food," said Baytops. "We serve a lot of at risk people with hypertension. With the canned goods, you have to watch out for the salt, but with the fresh, it's much better for their health."

It's also better for the wallet. Gold says one truck load of peanut butter costs as much as eight to 10 truck loads of produce. That's also why he's teaming up with area farmers and providers to bring in fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat that would otherwise not be used.

"So we would just go behind them in the fields, and it goes right out to the agencies we serve," added Gold. "They get fresh produce right away."

FeedMore is in the process of installing donated freezers. As it makes the farm fresh transition, it's also educating people how to handle and store the food. That's already a priority Baytops is looking into.

"Immediately, what I thought is storage so we have to work out a plan to do that," Baytops added.

The freezers should be installed within a few weeks. FeedMore is rolling out a new plan to actually call an make an appointment to pick up your food. It also needs volunteers will also need volunteers to sort the fresh food as more is delivered.

If you're interested in either, you can call the food bank at 521-2500, or visit online to fill out a volunteer form: www.feedmore.org.

Copyright 2012 NBC 12 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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