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Produce truck helping provide healthy options for families at Boys & Girls Club


By Lydia Vazquez

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    HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Florida (WFTS) — We’re paying 25% more for groceries right now than we did before the pandemic.

In 2022 alone, Americans saw the biggest annual price increase at the grocery store since 1978.

In Hillsborough County, local organizations are working to help keep families fed.

All year long, the Boys and Girls Club and Feeding Tampa Bay provide meals for kids after school. But new this year is a produce truck.

“Most people nowadays, regardless of where they live, don’t necessarily have an opportunity to eat fresh fruit and produce, especially in the inner city,” Mary Moore of the Boys & Girls Club explained.

Once a month, the produce truck will park outside Freddie Solomon Boys & Girls Club, and kids get to pack a bag to take home.

“As we know, the price of food has skyrocketed, especially in produce. So it gives me that extra that I need to make it through, you know, so it’s very helpful,” Mom, Marketaia Ingram, explained.

It’s support so many families need dealing with the rising costs of food.

“Being a father is amazing, it’s great. The price of food going up is not so great… It makes me feel good because food is very expensive nowadays, especially with three kids. It’s a little tough,” Dad, Ramando Reed, added.

Thanks to these partnerships and a truck filled with fresh food, parents told us their healthy habits can continue even outside the home.

“I can only do so much at home. It’s a big importance they can get more options and more places now, too,” said Reed.

“It just makes me feel good to know that my kids are able to have healthy alternatives when they’re not with me,” Ingram added.

Organizers with the Boys and Girls Club said they hope something as simple as a few fresh pieces of fruit will create a long-term benefit not just for the kids, but their families too.

“Exposing them to these kinds of healthy foods at an early age helps them to grow up and realize that there is a healthier way to live as an adult,” Moore said.

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