Every year between December and April, the Winona Volunteer Services food shelf experiences a decline in fresh produce available for their clients.
To help alleviate that challenge, Winona County PartnerSHIP, Winona Hy-Vee and Winona Volunteer Services partnered to introduce a program called “Hy-Vee Fresh Funds” to help increase access to fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables for local food shelf clients.
When shopping at the Winona Hy-Vee during the month of March, which is National Nutrition Month, shoppers were invited by cashiers at the checkout lane to add $1, $5, $10 or more to their grocery bill. The amount donated was deposited directly into a separate account for Winona Volunteer Services to purchase fresh food for food shelf clients.
A total of $454.45 was raised through 192 transactions, which was used to buy 520 pounds of fresh produce, including cauliflower, cucumbers, potatoes and Georgia peaches.
“All of the produce from Hy-Vee was extremely fresh. The volunteers are delighted to see a variety of produce available to our shoppers, especially having more expensive items like peaches,” said Sandra Burke, Winona Volunteer Services executive director.
“We are proud to be able to partner with our community to help provide fresh, nutritious foods for all,” said Jennifer Holden, Winona Hy-Vee registered dietitian.
The Hy-Vee Fresh Funds program was supported by the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), which helped fund store signs, brochures and cashier stickers to prompt donations.