Jewish Family Service celebrated National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month in June with the planting of the new raised garden beds at Hebrew Union College (HUC). HUC generously donated materials, space, and the assistance of a master gardener volunteer to raise fresh homegrown vegetables. This produce will stock the shelves of the Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry. The joint efforts of HUC faculty, staff, and students, as well as Jewish Family Service staff, activity participants, and volunteers will help feed families in need in Cincinnati’s Jewish community and the Clifton area.
The project began in April, when volunteers constructed nine wooden beds for placement in the open green space on HUC’s campus. The garden beds were soon filled with fresh soil, and the planting began. Volunteers planted a variety of vegetables, including green onions, kale, bush beans, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, several types of herbs, and more.
During the planning stage, a planting schedule was created that would allow a consistent yield through the summer and fall. This schedule will keep the shelves of the Food Pantry stocked with fresh vegetables, so clients can enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.
In 2014, the Heldman Family Food Pantry provided clients with food for 35,278 meals and helped promote food security and healthy eating throughout the year. The addition of fresh vegetables will increase the variety of foods available to clients, making it easier for families to prepare nutritious, well-balanced meals.
The Food Pantry is located in the Barbash Family Vital Support Center, which also offers a variety of wellness activities for those struggling with mental illness and other challenges. These group activities include exercise, support groups, art projects, cooking lessons, Hebrew instruction, and more. The dedicated Jewish Family Service staff also offers a series of classes to teach vital life skills, from money management to resume writing.
Jewish Family Service, which strengthens lives in our community through adoption, education & mentoring, vital support services, and aging & caregiver services, provides support for food pantry clients through support it receives in part from the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, and Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati.
The Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry receives funding from Jewish Federation and donations from many individual contributors, congregations, B’nai Mitzvah families (through our Centerpiece for Tzedakah program), and food retailers including Remke Market, Meijer, and Marx Bagels. Jewish Family Service Food Pantry is also supported, in part, by the generosity and support of individuals and businesses that give annually to the Freestore Foodbank.