Fighting Poverty with Passion
The New Orleans Fruit Tree Project harvests between 6,000 – 10,000 pounds of fruit a year. Since starting in 2011, we have harvested over 30,000 pounds of fruit! I get asked a lot of questions like “Where is my fruit going?” or “Who do you give all this fruit to?” So I thought I would feature all our wonderful partner organizations that we have the privilege of working with.
One of my favorite parts of this job is when I get to deliver all the fruit we have harvested in the past few days. Tulane Community Health Center serves populations within New Orleans with limited access to primary care, accepting patients regardless of insurance status. Prior to Katrina, a lot of patients were visiting hospitals and ERs to receive primary care. Since the storm, the healthcare infrastructure has undergone major restructuring, resulting in more team-based primary care located in neighborhoods that have the most medically underserved populations. Tulane Community Health Center at the corner of Orleans and N. Broad is one of those facilities. The satsumas and oranges that we donate to the Tulane Community Health center are placed around the lobby for patients to snack on while they wait to see the doctor or can be taken home to family and friends. Often times when I am carrying the fruit from the van to the building I get stopped by patients in the parking lot asking to take some home!
This year we have started to donate citrus to Trinity Loaves and Fishes. This program delivers meals to the homeless and other organizations that work with the poor. Trinity Loaves and Fishes delivers meals to over 2,000 people a month and we are so happy we can support all the good work they are doing and help provide some of those people with fresh oranges.
Within the past month we have started donating satsumas to fellow Tulane VISTA partner Eden House! Eden House is a two-year residential program for women who have been commercially and sexually exploited. Modeled after Magdalene House in Nashville, Tennessee, Eden House provides six to eight women a safe and supportive home for two years. Through this wonderful organization, women receive wrap-around services such as counseling, education, and job training. Since addiction is often connected with prostitution, a twelve-step program is also part of their model. Eden House is such a much needed resource in New Orleans and I am so glad we are able to donate satsumas to their residents.
and kumquats) is donated to Second Harvest. Second Harvest Food Bank is leading the fight against hunger in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response. They provide food to 474 partners and programs across 23 parishes. Together, they make up the largest anti-hunger network in the state! Through their food distribution programs, community kitchen meal service, nutrition education, and public benefits assistance, they are helping to create pathways out of poverty. Every year, Second Harvest secures millions of pounds of food that otherwise would have gone to waste. Their work helps ensure that these meals make it to the dinner tables of thousands of families struggling with hunger in South Louisiana. With one in six households in Louisiana at risk of hunger, NOFTP is grateful we can help in this fight, and we are honored to assist!