Eastern New Mexico food bank offers free produce to Cannon, community

(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, in partnership with New Mexico’s iCan program, is offering free produce to community members through their “Produce to People” market at their Clovis food bank.

With no income eligibility requirement limiting who may benefit from the program, all are welcome to pick up fresh food and ideas for how to integrate it into a healthy meal. In addition to the fresh food available at the market, iCan Program Director Zandy Bunch will offer samples of the produce available for pickup and suggestions for produce-based recipes.

“During a meal, half of your plate should be covered in fresh fruits and vegetables,” Bunch said. “I’m here to educate families on nutrition and share ideas on how to add our produce to their plates.”

Normally serving as a hub for collecting food donations and distributing them to local agencies, the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico started the direct-to-families market to ensure that as much donated produce as possible was making it onto somebody’s plate.

“The food bank distributes up to 10,000 pounds of food every week, much of it produce,” said warehouse manager Maggie Baier. “This program started because we couldn’t give our produce away fast enough, so we decided to get it right to the people who might need it.”

The program began strongly in September, and the food bank plans to continue holding markets whenever donations support community-wide distribution.

“Our initial produce market in September was such a success,” said Food Bank Executive Director Dianna Hernandez. “We were able to distribute more than 8,500 pounds of produce in less than two hours with plenty of produce to share equally among families.”

The Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico supports 21 local agencies and 19 schools to provide food for families and individuals in Roosevelt, Quay, De Baca, Guadalupe, Torrance and Curry counties including Cannon Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico.

To find out when the next “Produce to People” market will be, or to find out information about donating or volunteering, call 575-763-6130.