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Fruit And Vegetables Available By Prescription At Ottawa Food Bank

by | October 7, 2019

A West Ottawa food bank has seen a surge in people dropping in for fresh — with a “prescription” in hand.

Over the last five years, the Parkdale Food Centre has seen an increasing number of people come in with a note from a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or social worker which addresses their need for access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Note holders may be struggling with ill health as a result of their diet, or simply need a hand providing healthy food for themselves and their families.

While the Hintonburg establishment once offered relief only to those in the neighborhood, it is now accepting prescriptions from anyone in Ottawa. Since making this change, Parkdale has nearly doubled the amount of money that it spends each month, with the current monthly budget at $22,000.

According to Parkdale Food Centre Executive Director Karen Secord, more than half of its visitors come toting a prescription.

“What I’m trying to do is to show that when people do not have access to healthy food, we indeed have a public health crisis,” she said.

Food Bank Volunteers Accept Donations
Many food banks only offer non-perishables (Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com)

A Food Bank For A Healthy Community

These prescriptions for fruit and vegetables are being handed out in order to encourage those on a low income to embrace healthier diets. Doing so also serves to build bonds in the community and enhance social interaction. 

Although there are a number of food banks in Ottawa, Parkdale has become known as the go-to place for fresh produce. It is committed to offering only healthy options to the community, including unlimited fruit and vegetables.

Parkdale Food Centre is now working to collaborate with eight separate organisations in Ottawa to distribute their produce to other parts of the city.

Do you have an initiative like this near you? Let us know in the comments below!

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