Sackville program offers fresh food to low-income families

A new program in Sackville is giving low-income families access to fresh fruit and vegetables for $15 a month.

Fresh for Less initiative designed after a similar program in Moncton

A new program in Sackville is giving low-income families in the community access to fresh fruit and vegetables for $15 a month.

The Tantramar Family Resource Centre has designed its "Fresh For Less" program after a similar one run by Moncton Headstart.

The program’s members, which can be families, seniors or students, pay $15 each month for a food box bought at wholesale prices.

Raeghann Lister is helping to organize the program in Sackville. She said the vegetable and fruit boxes can vary each month but the base order is the same for people who use the service.

The boxes always include potatoes, carrots and onions and apples, oranges and bananas.

She said these are the food items that are often forgotten when families are on a tight budget.

"It seems to be the first thing that goes because it's the most expensive thing," she said.

"And it's important for people to have healthy food. It helps them have a better life, and pay attention in school, and it's just better all around to have better nutrition."

Lister said the organizers pool together all the money collected from the members so they can purchase items at discounted prices.

"So the more people that participate in the club, the more extra vegetables and fruit that we'll be able to buy," she said.

Tantramar Family Resource Centre is partnering with the Sackville Food Group to deliver the project. Lister said the Sackville Food Group raised the idea of starting the low-cost, fresh food program.

The program is intended to offer the boxes year-round, except December.

Lister said about six families are onboard with the program already.

However, she said the program needs 10 families for it to be sustainable. 

By comparison, the Moncton program, which has been running for a year, is now up to 124 boxes.

Debbie, one of the program’s participants, said the first box of fresh produce she got from the Moncton Headstart Food for Less program helped to feed her family of six.

She bought two shares for $30 and said it saves her a significant amount of money.

"It helps stretch our budget and allows us to put our money elsewhere, to bills and meat and other items." Debbie said.