SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Hunger relief agencies in Southeast Missouri got a little more produce thanks to a partnership between Southeast Missouri Food Bank and Southeast Correctional Center's Restorative Justice Program.
Members are cultivating produce from a garden of seven acres at the Southeast Correctional Center.
According to Chief Advancement Officer Joey Keys with the SEMO Food Bank, the Department of Corrections Restorative Justice Gardens in Missouri produced 133 tons of fresh produce for donation to food banks and other organizations.
The program not only helps offenders learn gardening skills but provides back to those in need in our community.
Among the products that will soon be available is lettuce, watermelons, and strawberries.
Keys said SEMO Food Bank clients are at an increased risk of diet-related chronic diseases. While produce consist of at least 50% of diet, produce only consist of 25% of food donations according to Keys. Increasing access to fruits and vegetables is critical to improving health outcomes.
Seniors are most vulnerable and have three times the prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases (such as diabetes) compared to the general Southeast Missouri population, Keys said.