BOUND BROOK, NJ – The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office is one of several agencies contributing to a collaborative effort with Healthier Somerset and Duke Farms in Hillsborough to deliver fresh produce to the Bound Brook Salvation Army Food Pantry.
The need to increase fresh produce in local food banks and pantries was identified by Healthier Somerset, a coalition that works to improve the health of Somerset County residents and employees, in their Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Through a New Jersey Healthy Initiatives grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthier Somerset is working to create a culture of health in Bound Brook and South Bound Brook.
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"After identifying farms willing to donate produce to a local food bank and a partner to transport it, Healthier Somerset formed this collaboration with Duke Farms and the Somerset County Sheriff's Office,” said Serena Collado, Healthier Somerset director and director of Community Health at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.
“We are pleased to partner with these organizations to provide the Bound Brook Salvation Army Food Pantry with fresh produce to distribute each Wednesday to local families. Through this collaboration, families in Bound Brook and South Bound Brook will have access to healthy foods, which supports overall wellness."
“The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office welcomes opportunities to participate and serve our Somerset County communities,” said Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano. “In this spirit, we are proud to be in partnership with Healthier Somerset and Duke Farms in this worthwhile endeavor of delivering fresh, locally grown produce to the Salvation Army Food Pantry in Bound Brook on a weekly basis.”
“To date about 150 pounds of produce have been delivered,” said Sheriff Provenzano.
“Somerset County is committed to providing an exceptional quality of life to its residents through education and outreach on community health initiatives,” said Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, Healthier Somerset liaison. “The health and well-being of individuals and families today shape their health in the future. Eating fruits and vegetables is an integral part of a healthy diet and overall well-being.”
“Duke Farms is a leader in environmental stewardship and inspires visitors to become informed stewards of the land,” said Executive Director Michael Catania. “It is a place of education, enjoyment and research that enhances the environmental health of the region. Duke Farms inspires people to transform their approach to conservation and to start building a more sustainable future.
“Generous members of the Duke Farms Community Garden, Education Garden and Demonstration Garden contribute significant amounts of produce to the Duke Farms Donation Program. To date, a total of 1,676 pounds have been donated to various organizations,” he said. “Duke Farms’ staff and gardeners have taken the stewardship mandate a step further by providing healthy produce to residents of our county who don’t have an opportunity to enjoy a healthy bounty on their own.”
"The Salvation Army is so grateful for the opportunity it has to provide fresh food to those in need in our community,” said Salvation Army Lt. Lilybeth Otero. “By partnering with Healthier Somerset, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and Duke Farms, our combined efforts will impact countless individuals throughout our community. Without this valuable partnership we would not be able to meet this very basic human need. This is at the heart of our ministry in Bound Brook, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to help meet this need for our community."
Joining together to celebrate the program's success were Duke Farms Garden Educator Melissa Almendinger, retired Capt. John Quinn, Healthier Somerset Liaison Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, Duke Farms Executive Director Michael Catania, Salvation Army Lt. Lilybeth Otero, Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, Healthier Somerset Director and Community Health Director at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset Serena Collado, and Col. Richard Borden.
For more information about the Duke Farms Community Garden Donation Program, contact Melissa Almendinger at (908) 243-3604.
For information about Healthier Somerset, call (908) 203-5990, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.healthiersomerset.org/ You can learn more about CHIP on the county Health Department webpage at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health by selecting “Resources / Community Health Improvement Plans” or going to http://bit.ly/CHIPSC .