Are you thinking about becoming healthier? Then put down the chips and soda and feed yourself and your family better. What are your excuses? No time to go shopping? I have a solution for you here. Don't want to pay for poor quality food? I have a solution for your here. It's called La Canasta.
I first saw a flyer of La Canasta posted on the bulletin board in my office and I became so excited. I was dreaming for a service like this for a long time specially from right here in the Bronx.
I immediately picked up the phone and called the number posted on the flyer. Heidi Hynes was my calling destination. Heidi answered the phone. She was so friendly and easily explained to me how easy I could join the La Canasta. That very same evening I pickup up my first "la canasta" from Heidi's house.
When I bought home the produce to show my family of 6. All I heard was "ooohhh" and "aaahhhh". Everyone was excited to see how good quality the produce was.
The following Friday I picked up another bag and got to meet with Heidi personally. She briefly told me story of how she started La canasta.
Heidi works for a Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center in the Bronx. The teenagers in her program were discussing about having access to healthy food and snacks. When Heidi heard that she thought that it would be a really great idea to have this food-buying club that provides for families in the Bronx to eat healthier and have easier access to good quality produce. La Canasta is a social business not-for-profit program sponsored by the Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center and the Simon Bolivar Foundation.
Each week Heidi travels to Hunts Point Market in the South Bronx to pick up the produce and fills the neon green tote bags with enough fresh produce to last a family of four about a week. She delivers the healthy bags to drop-off sites where families can purchase the bags for $25 each and she accepts food stamps (EBT). A family can choose how often they want the produce, monthly or weekly.
Each tote bag is normally overflow with seasonal fruit and vegetables. This month's totes included:
Carrots Onions garlic
Potatoes or Corn
Four portions of fruit
One salad vegetable (green pepper, red pepper, cucumber celery)
Two vegetables (broccoli, green beans cabbage, cauliflower or greens)
One pound whole grain (brown rice, corn meal, oat meal, or whole wheat pasta)
One pound dry beans (Roman, Black, Pinto, Kidney, or others)
and One extra surprise item
There are different kinds of baskets to choose from you just need to let Heidi know when you sign up.
Latina basket: - Families can choose to get bags that include yuca, plantains, cilantro and other Spanish foods. These food will replace other regular items.
Basket for People with diabetes: Families can choose to get bags that have less starch, less sweet fruit and more vegetables.
Heidi also invites members of La Canasta to share their thoughts and address issues of food access. She hopes that having discussion group will help develop the program faster. Heidi is concerned that Bronxites need healthy food, but the price of good quality food and better choices is very high.
If you are interested in joining La Canasta can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Heidi Hynes at 917-402-4129.
Any place can be a drop-off site. All you need is one person who will be the organizer of the site and responsible for receiving and giving out the baskets. It could be done from your home or your apartment building lobby or your church and there must be at least 5 families picking-up from the site.