Food Bank Program Brings Fresh Fruit to Boys & Girls Clubs

Posted: Updated:

The Charlottesville Emergency Food Bank is expanding its sponsorship of a program that will give hundreds of kids access to fresh produce. 

Starting this fall, children with the Boys & Girls Clubs will get fresh fruit four days a week instead of three. Two Charlottesville locations are grateful for the boost in sponsorship because they've noticed that for many children, the healthy choice really is the first choice. 

"We thought that the kids wouldn't respond, but we pretty much get rid of all of the fruit that we get," said Clinton White Jr., teen director at the Cherry Avenue Boys & Girls Club. 

If you were to put a sweet treat or a piece of fruit in front of a kid, you would think that an apple or a banana would be a tough sale. But try testing that theory out on kids at the Cherry Avenue or Southwood Boys & Girls Clubs. 

"A lot of times if you sat apples in front of them and granola bars, a lot of times they would hit the apples first, which was ‘Wow!' which is great, that's what we want," said Armond Knight, program director at the Southwood location. 

Giving kids healthier choices is exactly why both locations are grateful to learn that the Emergency Food Bank is extending its fresh fruit sponsorship from three days a week to four when kids go back to school in the fall. 

Kymora Johnson says fruit is her snack of choice. "Well because it's kind of healthy and well, fruit you're supposed to eat every day," she said. 

Supplying fruit to hundreds of kids on a daily basis can be expensive, but thanks to gift cards from the Emergency Food Bank, the Boys & Girls Clubs can be less concerned about a price tag. 

"It would be very expensive, especially when you're looking at the organic choices," White said. 

Between Southwood and Cherry Avenue, they can serve as many as 250 kids after school, and they don't put a limit on how much fruit a child gets. 

"If they want it, they get it. And that's really the end of it. They love the fruit," Knight said. 

Those gift cards are supplied each month for Kroger. The clubs are also able to provide healthy options during the summer through a separate summer feeding program.