More than Just Filling a Bag
A cucumber, tomato and onion marinated salad on a hot summer day may seem like a simple dish, but for food insecure Arkansans in Pine Bluff served by the Neighbor to Neighbor food pantry, it’s a recipe of love.
Neighbor to Neighbor provides food, clothing, emergency services and supplemental assistance in Jefferson County. The pantry serves over 500 bags of groceries monthly and hosts free and nutritious lunches Monday through Friday. The Executive Director, Pat Tate, used funds from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas to purchase cucumbers and tomatoes in bulk. They made a cucumber, tomato, and onion marinated salad as a creative way to use the veggies. The community members loved this dish, reminding many of their mother’s dishes, and it has now become a staple on hot summer days. These meals provide comfort in their consistency and an opportunity for community. “Food connects people to their pasts, cultures and memories.” Pat Tate said. “It is so much more than just filling a bag.”
Health Equity in Feeding the Hungry
Neighbor to Neighbor’s project for Health Equity in Feeding the Hungry aims to help those in the community suffering from health conditions brought on by inequities in the food supply that unfairly impact minorities and low to no income in the community. The disparities result in poor eating habits, causing higher-than-normal incidences of obesity and diabetes, poor dental health, and high blood pressure. Beyond feeding the community nutritious meals, Neighbor to Neighbor also provides copies of good nutritional habits and recipes to be placed in grocery bags and posted around the pantry. The organization focuses on healthy, nutritious foods that families can prepare together.
Funding Fresh Produce and Protein
Blue & You funded $25,000 for fresh produce and protein purchased for pantry bags and used as ingredients for the meals made at lunches. The Foundation’s Executive Director, Rebecca Pittillo, got to visit the food pantry and help serve lunch to some community members. She also peeked in one of the pantry bags filled with nutritious foods such as fresh bread, oatmeal, almonds and peaches. With funding from the Blue & You Foundation, the pantry served meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fresh local corn, grapes and pecan pie. These fresh produce and protein items are much healthier food options for the community members. Neighbor to Neighbor purchases foods from local sources, strengthening the food community in Pine Bluff.