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When people don't have enough nutritious food to eat, children do poorly in school, adults are less productive at work and seniors are less likely to live independently. Food insecurity also puts people at greater risk for health issues like diabetes and hypertension. For those who struggle to afford enough nutritious food, inexpensive and unhealthy foods are sometimes the only option.
Harvesters strives to provide the most nutritious food possible to our neighbors in need. Healthy eating is one of Harvesters' key initiatives - our goal is to be a leader in providing nutritious food to sustain healthful eating and to create healthy communities.
Last year, Harvesters distributed more than 17 million pounds of fresh produce - fruits, vegetables and perishable items including milk and cheese. Fresh produce is distributed through mobile food distributions and Harvesters' agencies also pick up fresh produce when picking up nonperishable food from Harvesters.
In addition to providing nutritious food, Harvesters offers a variety of nutrition services to its agency partners. These include nutrition education classes, resources, webinars, short-term project coaching, and long-term pantry partnerships.
Nutrition Education Classes - Harvesters offers nutrition education classes that agencies can host at their site to teach low-income children and adults how to cook and eat healthier meals. Harvesters trains agency staff, volunteers and clients to teach classes through our Train the Teacher model.
Resources - Harvesters offers nutrition resources such as recipes, nutrition information and food safety information (flyers, trainings, videos). This information is available through Nutrition Services staff and also can be found online in the agency resources section on Harvesters' website.
Webinars - Harvesters' Nutrition Services team offers webinars on a variety of topics such as diabetes, hypertension, environmental cues encouraging healthier choices, foods to encourage, and food allergens. Recordings of these webinars can be found online in the agency resources section on Harvesters' website. These recordings are available to all agency staff, volunteers and board members.
Short-term Project Coaching - The Nutrition Services team offers specific coaching to agency partners on short-term projects such as gardening, pantry set up, environmental cues encouraging healthier choices, staff and volunteer training, cooking demonstrations, healthy food procurement, health screenings, visual aids, and setting up a client choice pantry.
Long-Term Pantry Partnership - The long-term pantry partnership is a more intensive engagement between Harvesters and a partner agency. In these partnerships, Harvesters' Nutrition Services staff visit an agency on a weekly basis and work closely with all agency stakeholders, including volunteers, clients, and staff on nutrition-related services.
Recently, Harvesters began working with the Samuel Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City, Mo. to establish a prescriptive food pantry for patients with diabetes. These patients now receive a box of healthy nonperishable food items each month along with nutrition information.
Harvesters’ nutrition educators have compiled many of the healthy recipes they use in their nutrition education classes into a cookbook. Download a copy in English or Spanish. Or, you can purchase a hard copy of the cookbook for $15. Call 816.929.3015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about any of these nutrition services, please contact Harvesters' Nutrition Services department at 816.929.3034 for Kansas City or 785.861.7734 for Topeka or Nutrition@harvesters.org.