By Cherri Gregg

By: Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Drueding Center in North Philadelphia helps homeless mothers through transitional housing. The center is now home to a new pilot pantry program that provides only healthy, nutritious food to those in need.

The new Green Light Pantry is stocked only with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and lean meats.  The pantry feeds 50 families once a month and provides recipes, cooking classes, and the option to choose what foods to take home, says Drueding executive director Anne Marie Collins.

“Instead of going in and being handed a bag of food that you may not like, you can say ‘yes I want this, I want peanut butter or salmon.’ You get to choose your healthy options,” Collins said.

“Seventy percent of the food pantry clients had some type of diet related disease, say heart disease, diabetes, or some other type of illness that requires a certain type of diet,” said Julie Zaebst, interim director of The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.

The Coalition worked with several partners to create the Green Light program to help change some of the outcomes for those in need.

“We decided to take a close look at the foods that we provide at the food pantries and make sure that they are meeting folks’ dietary needs and are providing only healthy food for them and their families,” she said.

The Coalition says roughly half a million people in Philadelphia used a food pantry in the past year, so the need is great. Britaney Murray began living at Drueding Center 10 months ago and she began using the new pantry when it opened in March.

“They have fresh fruits that I really do love, I don’t have to open up a can,” said Murray. “I’ve been introducing healthy foods to my son, so he can get used to the taste.”

All Green Light foods are low sugar, low sodium and low fat.

For more information on the Drueding Center, click on the following link:

For more information on the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, click on the following link:

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