Kristin Pederson

Fortune Supports Making Healthy Food Choices

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Fortune Society understands that it is nearly impossible to build a better future if your basic needs aren’t being met.

In 2011, we worked with a group of students from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service to determine that over 40% of those enrolled in our programs experience “food insecurity.” This ranges from not having access to healthy diets that help to manage chronic health conditions to participants who, on a daily basis, do not know where their next meal is coming from.

To respond to this need, we’ve increased access to healthy food at our sites. We follow New York City and federal dietary guidelines when putting together menus, and work to serve healthy options at events and in our vending machines.

In addition to supporting healthy food choices, we’ve put together programs that focus on other needs related to food. For example, for our housing participants and the West Harlem community, this means weekly cooking demonstrations on Wednesday afternoons where we provide samples of healthy recipes and a bag of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Last year, we gave out 15,150 pounds of produce at these events and at our periodic sessions at our Long Island City (LIC) service center.

We have also created cooking and nutrition curricula for younger participants, particularly those in our Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) program, and had events focused on healthy food for families. Additionally, we support a small community garden on the roof of our Castle Gardens building where residents grow their own fresh herbs, flowers, and vegetables. We even have two micro-businesses developed to expand healthy eating options — a summer and fall farm stand in Harlem and a fresh juicing stand at LIC.

Since 2014, we have had a registered dietician on staff, and are looking at ways to provide more individualized counseling for clients requiring additional support. As a holistic service agency, The Fortune Society takes seriously the need for good nutrition in the lives of our participants. We look forward to continuing to build these programs to best meet that need.

Categories: Community, Events

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