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LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. -- Online grocer FreshDirect and food rescue organization City Harvest signed a agreement yesterday to launch "The City Harvest/FreshDirect Buying Club," with the goal of helping low-income residents of the Melrose neighborhood in the South Bronx receive better access to affordable, quality, fresh food.
Under the agreement, City Harvest will sell discounted produce and groceries to individual residents and local institutions serving the community, such as day care and senior centers. FreshDirect will offer the organization a 20 percent discount off regular prices, allowing low-income residents to shop from a selection of items at a discount and pick up their orders at a local drop-off point. FreshDirect will additionally waive all delivery fees for orders placed by City Harvest for the Buying Club.
The Melrose neighborhood, part of the poorest congressional district in the country, was selected to be the pilot location for the new partnership because of its significant lack of healthy eating options. According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, unhealthy food outlets outnumber healthy ones by five to one in the area. Melrose has among the highest rates of nutrition-related diseases in the city, such as diabetes and obesity. Based on the success of the Melrose project, FreshDirect and City Harvest will roll out the initiative to other low-income New York City communities.
"[W]e are building on our collaboration and strengthening our joint commitment to improving nutrition and community health in more areas of New York City," said FreshDirect c.e.o. Steve Michaelson. "Access to fresh food is critical to good health, and I strongly hope that our partnership with City Harvest will supply the Melrose neighborhood the opportunity to shop for healthy meals and snacks."
FreshDirect ranks among City Harvest?s top five food donors (among more than 1,900 in 2007).
FreshDirect serves most of Manhattan and locations in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx, as well as parts of New Jersey, Westchester, and Nassau County. The company has over 250,000 customers and has fulfilled over 6 million orders since opening for business in September 2002.