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Healthy Tuesdays becomes a staple in Groton

Sara+Knobel+is+the+director+at+Groton+Public+Library%2C+the+hosting+place+of+Healthy+Tuesday+food+giveaway
Sara Knobel is the director at Groton Public Library, the hosting place of Healthy Tuesday food giveaway
August 2013, Sara Knobel, a resident of Groton, New York, and director at “Healthy Food for All,” introduced “Healthy Tuesday” at the Groton Public Library. Since then, every week at 6pm, “Healthy Tuesday” gives away free produce to Groton community members with little access to fresh and healthy food.

“At the end of the day we had things that didn’t sell,” Knobel said. “I started thinking, ‘there’s a lot of people in our town who could use donations as well.’ So we started bringing them to the library and it evolved into the Healthy Tuesday.”

There are two convenience stores, one Dollar store and no grocery stores in Groton, said Steve Holzbaur, the general manager of Fingerlake Fresh. According to Yelp.com, there are 11 convenience stores in Ithaca alone.

“I consider Groton a food desert,” Knobel said. “We have Dryden, Cortland and Ithaca close by, but if you don’t have a car and you have to walk it makes it hard to get groceries.”

Knobel began Healthy Tuesdays by driving around to local groceries and picking up leftover produce to give away at the library to residents of Groton. As she made more connections, the food started coming to her.

Soon after Healthy Tuesday started, Knobel reached out to Meaghan Sheehan Rosen, the program director at Friendship (Donations Network), an organization that prevents nutritious food from being wasted, and attempts to redirect that food to people in need of produce.

“When folks from Healthy Tuesday contacted Friendship Donation Network to be able to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy food donations for the giveaway, we were thrilled to partner with them,” Rosen said. “[…] the idea was to provide healthy food to people in Groton community, who otherwise may not have access affording some of the fresh healthy food.”

Buried Treasure, an organic farm in Groton run by Doug and Mary Newman, has joined in on donating Healthy Tuesdays. They began using Community Supported Agriculture, which involves a capital investment from consumers who are then guaranteed the fresh produce that they paid for in the beginning of the growing season.

“Basically it can break up the payments so that someone can afford it,” Mary Newman said. “ We also do some fundraising. We’re in the process now to see if people are interested in joining our CSA. On our application we also have a little space to offer to people if they want to donate to Healthy Food for All and we have some members who do that so it’s like giving back even more to our community.”

Knobel says that the citizens of Groton who have come to Healthy Tuesday have shown their appreciation to her for the work she has done in the community.

“It’s been great,” Knobel said. “I’ve had people come up and shake my hand with tears in their eyes saying how great it is. We’ve been finding that as we do things, people find out and want to help.  Groton is like family. People see a need and they just want to help.”

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