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December 7, 2023

Bronx, NY, December 7, 2023 - Montefiore once again extended its impact beyond hospital walls, fighting food insecurity and ensuring communities stay healthy. Its annual Healthy Holiday Fresh Produce Distribution Initiative, now in its fourth year, providing families with produce to prepare tasty and nutritious side dishes and desserts for their Thanksgiving meals distributed 70,000 pounds of fresh produce across seven locations within the Bronx, Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties – up from 60,000 pounds across five sites last year. 

Recipients included community-based organizations, elected officials, faith-based institutions, and Montefiore Einstein community-based intervention programs. These groups distributed the produce directly to an estimated 28,000 individuals and families in need. 

For the first time, recipients also included Montefiore patients who expressed food insecurity during a social determinants screen, through which people answer questions about their social needs, or were referred by Montefiore’s Community Health Worker Institute Program. This special distribution event took place at Project BRAVO, Montefiore’s onsite food pantry located near its Moses campus, where patients could choose the produce they needed. 

“Food insecurity is one of the major social determinants of health,” said. Kevin Fiori, M.D., M.P.H, M.S., director, Community Health Worker Institute, Montefiore. “By including our patients in our distribution efforts, we are directly addressing the intersection of healthcare and healthy eating, which aligns with Montefiore’s commitment to comprehensive community well-being.” 

The produce was sourced by a local family-owned business, Westchester Produce at the Hunts Point Food Market, and included a variety of healthy vegetables like carrots and celery, as well as cultural staples like plantains, yucca, and collard greens. 

At select distribution sites, clients were empowered, and efforts were made to reduce food waste, by offering the opportunity to choose their own produce. Each family also received healthy recipes in English and Spanish tailored to the produce they received, empowering them to create nutritious meals they may not have had before. 

“Our annual Healthy Holiday initiative celebrates the season of Thanksgiving and promotes healthy eating to fight food insecurity, “ said Melisa Cebollero, Associate Vice President, Office of Community Affairs, Montefiore Einstein. “This is a vital component of our efforts to promote well-being and build a healthier and more resilient communities. Together with our corporate and non-profit partners, Montefiore is providing nourishment, raising awareness about healthy eating habits, and driving progress.” 

The Healthy Holiday initiative is supported by several key partners, including Affinity, MolinaCares, AT&T, Lehman College, Westchester Produce, Chef’s Warehouse and more. 


About Montefiore Health System 

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems. It is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley. It comprises ten hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at MontefioreBurke Rehabilitation Hospital, and over two hundred outpatient ambulatory care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or view us on Facebook and YouTube.