When Doreen moved into Lantern’s Prospero Hall in East Harlem, she was suffering with diabetes and high blood pressure, made worse by the fact that she wasn’t eating properly. It was just too difficult to get the fresh food she needed. She says:
“It was hard to come by vegetables, because they took the supermarket away from my area. You had to walk for blocks to find them, and it was expensive.”
She was referred to Lantern’s onsite Health & Wellness Coordinator, who told her about the just-launched Fresh Food Box program. It’s now been 18 months since the program started, and Doreen goes every single week, getting a haul of free, fresh produce. She loves that Health & Wellness Coordinator Sabine does a cooking demonstration, making something out of whatever is in that week’s box, and that copies of the recipes are available for her to take and try.
Because of Sabine’s encouragement, Doreen’s eating more salads and enjoys trying different things. She now knows lots of different types of lettuce, and has learned to make a healthy granola with apples and oats for breakfast. It’s also made a big difference to her budget, because she only has to buy a few extra things rather than doing a whole shop:
“I’m on a fixed income, I get a check once a month, and I have to pay cash for everything. Fresh Food Box goes a long way.”
And best of all, her doctor is very happy with the changes she’s made. Doreen says her healthier diet has had a positive impact on her diabetes and blood pressure.
Fresh Food Box at Doreen’s building is funded by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. But we don’t have this generous support for all our sites, so we need help.
We’re fundraising now to help keep Fresh Food Box running through to the summer. Pitch in today, and 100% of your donation goes directly to purchasing fruits and vegetables, to be given out to people like Doreen.
Doreen says: “Look into it: you’re giving healthy foods, you’re helping people’s budget, it’s so worth it. Please let us continue having it, I really appreciate it.”