Denver will be the first deployment city of the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, launched by Partnership for a Healthier America, the nonprofit honorarily chaired by former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Through the food fund, which was established April 28 in response to the global pandemic, 600,000 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables will be provided to families in Denver over the next three months, beginning Tuesday.
The organization will work with the city and local community nonprofits — primarily the Montbello Organizing Committee, the Co-Op at 1st, Open Door Ministries and Denver Housing Authority — to distribute the food as well as a digital tool, called Foodsmart, that’s designed to simplify healthy eating with personalized recipes, discounts on healthy grocery items and more.
“This program will not only provide immediate relief to families impacted economically by COVID-19, but it will also instill new habits for health and immunity for the long-term,” Nancy Roman, PHA’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We have designed the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund to build a bridge to sustainable, affordable retail access to fresh produce that could allow for a true culture of health.”
Each week, Denver families will receive a 20- to 25-pound “PHA Fresh Box” that will provide two to three servings of produce for a family of four each day. The boxes are “built to offer balanced nutrition, variety and seasonal flavors,” according to the nonprofit.
“During a time when many of our families are most in need of support, organizations like Partnership for a Healthier America are stepping up to help provide some of the relief that will help them and our communities get through this,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock stated in the news release. “We’re honored that Denver will be the first deployment of their COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund, and this is proof that by coming together, we can overcome the effects of this pandemic.”
PHA spokesman Andrew Brenner said that the group had been building partnerships in Denver for the better part of two years.
"We were on the cusp of moving forward on a city-focused initiative when COVID struck," he said. "We were able to immediately round back to our contacts and build buy-in for the Fresh Food Fund, which aligned with our shared vision. In the weeks and months ahead we hope to build on the momentum in Denver to launch in other cities around the country."