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Community Food Bank opens two new "Growtainers"

Community Food Bank opens two new "Growtainers" (KTUL)

From the outside, they look like two dressed up boxes, nothing more, but inside is a purple glowing chamber lined with romaine lettuce.

"We've worked really hard to bring more fresh produce to folks in need. We're at about 44 percent of what we distribute is fresh produce," said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

These so-called "growtainers" are a way to maintain a steady flow of fresh lettuce, one of their items with the highest demand. More fresh produce is always sorely needed, because it's usually first to be cut from the budget of low income families.

"People in poverty, it's a gamble. When it's highly perishable like fresh produce, to put your limited amount of money on it is scary," said Bradshaw.

Each month, the growtainers produce a new crop ready for distribution.

"It's just kind of amazing. We can harvest it and it can be on a family's table that night. It goes out through our partner programs," Bradshaw said.

Once all that lettuce is harvested, it's packaged up and distributed to places all across Green Country including Emergency Infant Services downtown.

"It's something that they are coming in specifically for and needing, especially if they have more than one child," said EIS Family Service Coordinator Jacky Lazarin.

EIS provides many supplies for low income parents, but fresh produce almost always tops the list.

"It's healthy for the family, and no one wants to be eating canned all the time, so something fresh is beneficial, like I said, and it tastes better," Lazarin said.

The growtainers won't shut down when it gets cold out. They will ensure the food bank has a steady supply of leafy greens all year round.


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