Food banks to receive fresh sweet potatoes for the holidays

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer ServicesMany people choose to use foods from a can or box because of the convenience. That can change at the holidays, though, when many people like to cook from scratch: a fresh turkey, real dug-from-the-ground potatoes, fresh vegetables, maybe even homemade bread or rolls. For those whose holiday dinner comes from a food bank, however, fresh is often not an option. Not this year.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has received a nice crop of “bonus foods” from the USDA – $384,000 of fresh sweet potatoes to be specific. Sweet potatoes, especially fresh ones, are high in essential nutrients and are versatile: baked, caramelized, roasted, fried or mashed.

The Department will distribute the bonus potatoes to all seven of Virginia’s regional food banks. “These regional food banks serve the entire state,” said Jewel Bronaugh, VDACS Commissioner, “and through their help we can provide these fresh vegetables to those whose only choice for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner may be what they can find at a local food bank.”

She adds that while the potatoes are earmarked for the food banks, VDACS also distributes foods to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, nutrition programs for the elderly, correctional facilities, and summer programs and day care centers.

These regional food banks will distribute in their areas to smaller food banks and other local outlets:  Lorton, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Richmond, Norfolk, Tasley, Verona, Lynchburg, Winchester, Charlottesville, Roanoke, Abingdon and Covington in Virginia and in Washington, D.C.

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