On March 25 at 5 pm, Engage members will have a chance to learn about nutrition and how to help others do the same. City Harvest will hold an information session about volunteer opportunities for their Healthy Neighborhoods programs. Led by Maria King, a Volunteer at City Harvest from AmeriCorps (the federally funded national service program), the session will explain the nutrition education project and how Engage members can participate. “Engage and City Harvest have a shared mission of community service,” Rabbi Brian Fink noted. “The nutrition education project is one way volunteers from both organizations can help others less fortunate than themselves.” The project is a natural addition to a service that began several decades ago.
In the early 80s, a group of New Yorkers, aware that many of their fellow citizens were going hungry, realized that many local restaurants were throwing perfectly good food away, and organized volunteers to see that food got to those who needed it. Since 1982, City Harvest—the world’s first food rescue service—has been collecting food donations from supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, local farmers, and markets, distributing them to over 500 community food programs.
Ten years ago, City Harvest expanded its outreach with its Healthy Neighborhoods programs in communities where lack of funds, access to fresh food, or both, have limited residents' choices and ability to have healthy diets. “We thought we could improve food access by distributing fresh produce with mobile markets, one in each of the five boroughs” said Maria King. Now through Healthy Neighborhoods, residents in the mobile market communities can pick up fresh produce every week.
With improved food choices, the obvious next step was to educate people on how to make the right food choices. The City Harvest nutrition education volunteer projects were established to do just that. “And here is where Engage members are being asked to do their part,” notes Rabbi Fink.
When Engage members attend the information session on March 25, they will get all the details about the many choices they have to volunteer to educate others about good nutrition and, perhaps along the way, learn how to improve their own health as well.