HISD elementary school seeks to offer nutritious food to children living far from grocery stores

Some communities don't have ready access to stores with fresh fruits and veggies, but a movement is helping students get them

March 12, 2014 2:53:48 PM PDT
It's a problem that is facing families in certain areas of Houston: food deserts. Some communities don't have ready access to grocery stores that have fresh fruits and vegetables available. Now there's a movement to help elementary students get those necessary foods.

Volunteers filled hundreds of bags at Lantrip Elementary School with fresh veggies and fruits. Those bags were then distributed Wednesday afternoon and it was huge relief for those in the neighborhood known as a food desert.

With every bag of fresh fruit and perfectly ripe vegetables, families will get a taste this week of the produce that's been so difficult to get into their home kitchens.

"A lot of parents don't have transportation to go to the store," parent Elssa Trevino said.

Many live in what's considered a Houston food desert.

"It should be something that's basic, a quality grocery store in any neighborhood," PTA president Judith Cruz said.

More than 500 bags of produce were ready to go Wednesday inside the Lantrip Elementary School auditorium. Parents signed up ahead of time to get the free produce.

"If you are giving it to people then there's absolutely no excuse why they wouldn't eat," Cruz said.

Each student gets one bag of fruits and a bag of veggies.

This week, families will have oranges, bananas, jicama, cucumbers, a bag of greens, avocados and even squash.

"I think whenever you have it at home you get creative. You say okay, let's make maybe a soup," Trevino said.

Trevino is getting her two bags for the week. It will save her family about $80 this month. Behind her is a line of other parents, and some don't have the money to buy fresh foods.

While Wednesday's free produce pick up is a relief some, say it may not be a sustainable long term solution.

One Houston group who says this is a good start, but it could produce a lot of wasted food if they don't know how to cook it.

Find Foti on Facebook at ReporterFotiKallergis or on Twitter at @FotiKallergis

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