BY HEATHER ROBERTS
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
“The healthy food, that’s a little bit harder to get fresh and stuff.”
Elizabeth Gienger is a Prineville mother of two.
“My kids, they love their fruits and veggies abnormally for children,” she said. And, she says that makes it tough to afford fresh foods.
But a new program aims to make that a little easier for Crook County residents.
The Fresh to You mobile food pantry parks at Prineville Mosaic Medical clinic twice a month.
“We come out to rural areas that are struggling, who need a little bit of food support,” said Patrick Grimes, the Fresh to You pantry manager. “This is open to the public, anyone can grab it. If you need food, come down and see us and we’ll help you out.”
Through a partnership with NeighborImpact, they offer fresh produce, canned soups and one type of meat, which rotates each time – all for free — the food comes from government programs, food pantries and local grocery stores with surplus.
Each visit, Veggie Rx also provides meal kits for those who qualify. This week, it was squash chili.
“We have about 30 participants in Prineville that are doing the program,” said Hannah Brzozowski, Food & Farm Alliance dietician and Veggie Rx director. “Each participant was referred by a healthcare provider. It’s for people who are experiencing food insecurity, whether that’s for financial reasons or geographic reasons, who also have a diet-modifiable disease; so that means diabetes, prediabetes, obesity.”
Veggie Rx is offered by the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance – they provide recipes and all the ingredients for a complete, healthy meal. The food pantry is available on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at the Prineville Mosaic Medical.