GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) – Imagine that you delivered a box of food, but it’s not the food you’re used to, and you’re not sure how to cook it for your family.
There was a lot of LatinX community feeling here in East North Carolina. Thanks to partnerships with food banks in Central and Eastern North Carolina, this is no longer the case.
During the epidemic, the Food Bank noticed that many Hispanic population organizations stopped using distribution boxes. Through partnerships with organizations such as AMEXCAN, NC Field, Farm Workers and other organizations, they begin to go into the community to find out why.
“They were really looking for fresh produce. And so, for us, it was a steep learning curve that needed and would be appreciated, “said Gideon Adama, VP of Food Bank’s Community Health and Engagement. “It’s a slow process, but building that trust, building enough confidence for a population that can actually communicate their needs directly to us.”
That’s where groups like AMEXCAN have entered
“We found that these canned foods, and many of these products, are not typical of the Latino community,” said Juvencio Rocha Peralta, executive director of AMEXCAN. His organization assisted the community in evaluating the food bank and found that many of the foods offered at the food bank were not familiar to this population, or culturally meaningful.
Adams said they don’t want to guess what the LatinX population wants, so they’ve found that moving away from pre-made boxes is the best way to incorporate the idea of client choice while maintaining a sense of dignity.
“All we have to do is send a palette of tortillas, a palette of rice, a palette of beans, a variety of sauces and spices that have been requested and it looks like a farmer’s market type. Setup so that bags or boxes are made on the spot for people to come through. We are talking about distribution anywhere from three to 600 families. “
Gideon Adams, VP of Community Health and Engagement
Food box options for the LatinX family may include rice, a variety of dried beans, tortillas, fresh vegetables, sauces such as maceka, molasses, spices, and other things that can be found in canned meat.
Juventus Rocha Peralta says this is a great opportunity for food banks to explore a new consumer market with a variety of new products. He says many LatinX populations will travel to other cities, towns and regions where they have more markets for these products. He believes this is an important time for food banks to diversify the products they offer to the community and recognize culturally appropriate food.
“I really think a lot of these Latin Americans are from where the average food, the average consumer, they have. .And I think that makes us proud. “
Juventio Rocha Peralta, executive director of AMEXCAN