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Portland Tribune: Getting kids to eat their veggies
Author: Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune
Posted: April 9, 2015

Read the original story in the Portland Tribune.

Harvest Share distributes free produce to PSU students, others downtown

Portland State University will enlist the help of the Oregon Food Bank to help feed their students fresh fruits and veggies next week.

PSU will be the site of an Oregon Food Bank Harvest Share, a program that distributes fresh produce at sites across the city and state.

It will roll out at the Park Blocks downtown on Monday, April 13 for the first time; if successful it will come to campus once a month.

PSU’s Committee for Improving Student Food Security invited the Harvest Share program to PSU as part of its ongoing effort to improve students’ ability to access affordable, nutritious and culturally relevant food.

The Associated Students of PSU conducted a recent survey that showed 59 percent of students on campus report struggling with moderate food insecurity.

The ASPSU also runs a student food pantry in Smith Memorial Student Union that's open two hours a day, five days a week. The problem is, there's no refrigeration, so access to fresh produce is a challenge.

PSU "is a really critical access point for people from all over the metro area," says Kate Benedict, community food program coordinator for the Oregon Food Bank.

She adds that with PSU as a commuter school, students come from all over the region, and struggle to balance the cost of tuition with food, transportation, healthcare and other costs.

Harvest Share will serve anyone who comes, including the large homeless population downtown.

PSU has about 30 volunteers ready to help Harvest Share roll out on campus. Harvest Share started about four to five years ago; there are now 25 sites in the Portland Metro area, including four that rolled out this past year.

They're located at clinics, schools, churches, housing complexes, anywhere there's a need.

Use of reusable shopping bags at the Harvest Share is encouraged.

Distribution is on a first-come, first served basis, and will begin at noon on April 13 at the South Park Blocks, outside PSU's Shattuck Hall, near Southwest Hall Street and Park Avenue.

For more: oregonfoodbank.org.

@jenmomanderson.