Photo by Silvan Shawe
Albert Choi, owner, and Bobby Young, manager, of Columbia Market in Cascade Locks hold the Veggie Rx vouchers redeemed for fresh fruit and vegetables by local customers.
As of Tuesday, February 27, 2018
The need for food assistance has risen in Cascade Locks as the Eagle Creek fire recovery continues. Gorge Grown Food Network was able to offer support by “prescribing” Veggie Rx at the Cascade Locks FISH Food Bank during its January distribution.
Veggie Rx is a fruit and vegetable prescription program designed to address food insecurity and increase accessibility to fresh produce. Packets of vouchers are normally prescribed through social service or healthcare providers, but a grant from Meyer Memorial Trust allowed over $7,000 in vouchers to be distributed to 104 low-income families, supporting healthy choices for more than 250 people. The majority of the vouchers went to seniors, and recipients are reporting sharing food with their neighbors in need.
“Everyone was so thrilled to receive vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Cascade Locks Food Bank Site Manager Martha LaMont. “I am hearing comments like, ‘Fresh produce is not something I can usually afford and I am so glad to be able to have a healthy choice of food — I am going to try a new recipe tonight using fresh ingredients.’”
This one-time winter distribution of Veggie Rx is only redeemable at Columbia Market, keeping that $7,000 in the local Cascade Locks economy. Albert Choi, owner of Columbia Market, said, “Veggie Rx is good for our small town, good for people, and good for business.”
One Veggie Rx recipient, who asked to have her name kept confidential, told Gorge Grown, “We’re eating it all! We’re just gobbling it down. We usually have a garden, but during the winter, we don’t have as much fruit or vegetables.” This recipient shared that she usually prioritizes feeding her 16-year-old son, but with Veggie Rx they “have very much enjoyed being able to have more fruits and vegetables than we normally would.”
Gorge Grown Food Network is continuing to seek long term funding for Veggie Rx throughout Gorge. To donate to Veggie Rx, visit gorgegrown.com.