Seniors in one Manhattan neighborhood are taking advantage of a local program that's bringing them fresh fruits and vegetables at a reduced cost. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Bags of beets and boxes of apples were just some of the locally sourced fresh produce that more than 100 seniors on the Upper West Side got delivered right to them this week.
It's all from farms in New York and neighboring states, delivered directly to the city by the farmers in conjunction with GrowNYC. The city program to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables in. The cost to seniors for more than a weeks' worth is just $8.
"If you would go to the market you'd pay much much much more," said Carol Bryant, a program participant.
"I think it's a wonderful thing," said Hyacinth Brea, another program participant.
The program is sponsored by City Councilwoman Gale Brewer. She says the most important aspect is that the seniors won't have to carry heavy bags far or go out of their way for healthy food.
"It gets delivered to your neighborhood, if not your building, your actual senior center or your lobby," Brewer noted.
"So not only here do we provide nutritious meals but by allowing them these affordable bags of produce we empower them to create their own meals at home," said Christina McSwain of the Goddard Riverside Senior Center.
Brewer's staff and many seniors themselves volunteer to pack the bags.
"I started out receiving vegetables and that was great and just by chatting found out that volunteers could help pack them, so I'm on either end and it's great," said Geraldine Borrell, a volunteer and program participant.
This week's haul included apples, beets, broccoli rabe, leeks and garlic. The program provides a recipe and storage sheet for everything.
"On the front of the bag there's always a little instructions. First of all they tell you where the vegetables come from and they always give you recipes," Bryant said.
Brewer is very likely to be the next Manhattan borough president as she is the heavy favorite in this fall's general election. She says the program is something she would like to bring borough-wide.
"I think it's very scalable, as we say, meaning it can go to all the different neighborhoods. It's very age friendly," Brewer noted.
No one is turned away but the program is winding down for the current season.
There is still one distribution left.
For more information, residents can call (212) 873-0282.