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FreshFix Community Programing
FreshFix engages a myriad of community partners to support fresh food access in lower-income and underserved communities. These programs include both charitable and grant supported efforts. Charitable efforts are supported by donations from FreshFix members which are matched by FreshFix. Grant-supported efforts are third-party funded projects that FreshFix has worked on in partnership with various public entities.
Half-price box program
In 2018 FreshFix received a small SPARK grant from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to provide half-price produce boxes to community surrounding the medical campus. This grant kick-started a larger half-price box program that served all of the City of Buffalo. We were able to provide 18+ weeks of half-price delivery to approximately 20 households. We discontinued this program in 2020 when we started working more closely with our mobile market partners to delivery reduced cost boxes, but hope to bring in back in 2023!
Free Box Program
At the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic we were inundated with many new customers looking for home delivery. We were able to leverage our increased revenue and customer interest in supporting local farmers and food access to hire a part-time community programs coordinator to coordinate a free box delivery program for people who lost their job due to COVID-19. Between March 2020 and April 2021 we provided over 1600 free boxes delivered to households that were impacted by COVID without the support of outside funding.
In summer 2020 we start transitioning our free and half-price box program to a partnership with community organizations that were already serving communities facing food apartheid. We currently work with Massachusetts Avenue Projects (MAP) and Community Action Organization (CAO) to supply reduced cost boxes of local produce for the mobile market programs. For this program, we offer these boxes at near cost. Our partners can then sell or give-away this food in communities across Buffalo most in need. For example, MAP offers our boxes at sliding scale prices at their Express Market. CAO had grant funding to purchase these boxes and distribute them for free to community members. With these programs we reached 150-200 families per week with fresh local produce in 2021 and 2022.
Excess food including late customer skips is donated on a weekly basis to Food Not Bombs and the Community Fridge Program. After an extended period of receiving donations, the Community Fridge Program is now able to purchase food, so we have been developing a custom service for them where FreshFix staff stocks three community fridges with fresh food twice per week. In addition to our ongoing charitable efforts, we partner with different organizations for special events like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Past recipients of boxes or bulk produce have included Journey’s End Refugee Services, Feed Buffalo, Resurrection Church Food Pantry and the Northeast Buffalo Community Center, Waterfront Elementary School, Tapestry Charter School Food Pantry
As FreshFix has built a reputation for both its products and its commitment to fresh local food, we have been approached by several community organization to help increase healthy food access and improve diet in underserved populations.
Upward Bound Programs
Starting in 2020 we partnered with Upward Bound Programs at the University at Buffalo https://www.buffalo.edu/cpmc/upward-bound.html) and D’youville University (http://www.dyc.edu/academics/student-resources/upward-bound/). These programs serve students from lower-income backgrounds and connect them with the university to encourage future college enrollment. Normally students are brought to campus where they are served meals, but due the remote nature of the program during COVID, FreshFix was contracted to provide home delivery of custom boxes and recipes/education for these students.
ECMC You Center for Wellness and Kaleida Healthy Weigh Program
FreshFix has worked with hospital-based programs to provide custom fresh food deliveries to patients including children at the Kaleida Healthy Weigh Program and HIV patients at risk for diabetes at the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) You Center For Wellness. For both programs, we developed custom food boxes to match recipes and patient education being conducted by the health care providers.
University at Buffalo
We are currently working with a research study directed by Dr. Jennifer Temple with the Nutrition and Health Research Laboratory to provide healthy food deliveries to lower-income patients. We are also in the planning stages of working with the Community Health Interventions Lab (led by by FreshFix co-founder Lucia Leone) to develop a campus-based mobile produce market program. We also hosted a Mobile Market Rodeo and provided breakfast for participants of the 4th Annual Mobile Market Summit at our location in the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal.