Fruits and vegetables aren’t always the go-to snack for kids, especially if they’re picky eaters. But parents know how important it is to ensure growing children have enough healthy food.
Just ask Mercedes, a mother of two young girls. “It’s nice to have [them] experience new fresh fruits,” she said, sharing that while her 6-year-old daughter Amelia loves boxed and processed foods, she tries to introduce her to fresh produce whenever she can.
We met Mercedes, Amelia and 16-month-old Alayna at a mobile food distribution at Greater Elgin Family Care Center, where this small family was excited to see the variety of healthy produce available to take home. Mercedes was especially impressed by all of the tomatoes.
“Knowing that [Amelia] can have actual fresh vegetables and not worry about her having only processed foods is the best part [of coming here],” she shared.
Amelia was starting her very first day of first grade the following day, where she will receive free lunch. But summers are a difficult time for her family, and many others throughout Northern Illinois who struggle to make up for missed meals.
“After school ends, it’s harder,” says Mercedes, explaining that’s why she is so grateful for the mobile pantry. “They definitely serve us a good amount [of food].”
Mercedes and her girls have only been to the Greater Elgin mobile pantry once before, but she has been to various food pantries and mobiles throughout the years. With the healthy groceries she can pick up, she has been able to try out new foods and cooking techniques.
“It was really nice to grill and experience something else,” she says of the fresh corn she was able to bring home.
Thanks to Greater Elgin Family Care Center and other food pantries in the Northern Illinois Food Bank network, families like Mercedes’ don’t have to worry about missed meals, and can fill their plates with fresh, nutritious produce each and every day.