Hi Rowan County! Alyssa here with your next health blog – talking about one of the key “ingredients” for health – local fruits and vegetables!
We all know the importance of eating healthy, especially now as we try to boost our immune system and ward off COVID-19. As a daily goal, everyone should try to have at least half of their plate as fruits and vegetables with every meal. Rowan County has a lot of local food – in fact – Rowan County produces more fruits and vegetables than anywhere else in the Piedmont!
We know that access to a grocery store may be limited to some – whether it is due to reliable modes of transportation, income changes, or being a part of a vulnerable population. Rowan County residents are resilient and I am excited to share some resources for where to find healthy food options during this time. We have to become more creative in how we prepare meals and access food. With fewer meat products on shelves, what better place than to turn directly to the source? At the end of this blog, I’m providing a lot of information about where to go to find your local sources for meats and produce.
We may also have to learn to utilize community resources in a new way by going virtual and finding community agencies or organizations that are offering food and other resources. Below is a list of community resources that may help provide food for your family and possibly ease some of the food insecurities that you may be experiencing. In addition to that, many of these local resources also offer healthier options to you and at a lower cost than you might expect:
Rowan County’s Local Farmers
With spring here and summer upon us, there are many local farmers that are currently offering fresh fruits and vegetables at their farms. Please note, especially during this time, local farmers are taking special precautions to make sure your safety and health are top priority. Here is a link of local farms, the type of produce they offer, hours of operation, and the location of each farm. Check out this interactive map that helps locate farms and farmer’s markets closest to you!
The Salisbury Farmer’s Market has a new home this season and will be located at 228 East Kerr Street, Salisbury (Behind Kocojava and near the Railwalk). At the farmer’s market, you can purchase local and fresh produce each Saturday from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. Please check their website for any weekly updates and for any changes due to COVID-19. Senior and WIC vouchers, along with EBT, are accepted at the market.
China Grove Farmer’s Market
Located at 308 North Main Street in Downtown China Grove, this market offers a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and locally grown meats. The market opens on Friday, May 3 and will be open every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. until September. For more information, click here.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools Get Involved!
Rowan-Salisbury Schools are currently serving daily meals with the assistance of RSSS Transportation Department. In addition to daily routes, there are several schools offering meals through the carpool lines at participating schools. This delivery model ended May 21. However, more information on the summer meal program is to be announced soon. To find pick-up meals near you, text FOODNC or COMIDA to 877-877.
Rowan County Non-Profit Updates
Meals on Wheels is currently delivering frozen meals to participants every Monday. The number of meals delivered is based on food insecurity and the health of the individual receiving this service. Comfort calls are also offered for participants and they offer a friendly reminder for the participant to eat and to check in on their daily status. Meals on Wheels is also partnering with Rowan Helping Ministries to help deliver USDA Food Boxes to their clients that are at highest risk and cannot pick up their own box of food. For more information and/or to participate with Meals on Wheels, please call 704-633-0352 (Monday –Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Rufty-Holmes Senior Center is currently providing five nutritionally balanced frozen meals, plus milk and juice every Wednesday. Seniors may register for the program by calling 704-216-7702 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations need to be made by noon each Wednesday in order to receive meals by the next Wednesday.
Meals can be picked up at five county-wide locations or they can be delivered to seniors without transportation by Rowan Transit System. There is no cost, but donations are encouraged.
Other Food Services Available:
- Limited amounts of food pantry items are available and can be delivered to seniors in need. Please call the center at 704-216-7702 for more information.
- Staff and volunteers are also available to grocery shop and delivery items to older adults. This service is only for seniors paying with cash or check. Assistance is also available to help order groceries online, if paying with a debit or credit card. Please call the center at 704-216-7702 if you need either one of these services.
Caregiver Support Program:
- Financial assistance is also available to caregivers that may need supplemental nutrition products, such as Ensure. Please call the center at 704-216-7702 to place your order. Home delivery is available.
Rowan County WIC is currently asking clients to call 704-216-8797 for an appointment. All appointments and WIC income eligibility will be completed and determined over the phone. Please note that the amount of food one is eligible for has not changed due COVID-19.
Rowan Helping Ministries (RHMs) continues to have their food pantries open and offer families, regardless of their size, a package of food. Prepacked USDA Family Food Bags are available to most individuals that are need.
RHMs are also partnering with Meals on Wheels to deliver pantry items to clients who are immunocompromised or elderly and have no way of picking the items up. No appointment necessary. For special assistance or to set a pickup time call 704-637-6838, ext.125
- Salisbury – Ralph W. Ketner Center – 226 N Long Street, Salisbury, Monday -Friday 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- West – 785 Grampian Rd, Mt Ulla – Fridays 9 to 11 a.m.
- East – 2570 St. Peters Church Rd, Salisbury – Saturdays 8 a.m. – Noon
Jeannie’s Kitchen, located at the Robertson Stanback Center, continues to provide three meals a day to guests. To-go lunch boxes are provided to community guests at the door between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Between mealtimes, coffee and snacks are also provided and offers a safe place to practice social distancing.
Food for Thought continues to offer weekend food bags for school children. For more information, call 704-637-6838.
Rivendell Farms of the Carolinas and public health have come together to provide an interactive food resource map. This link shows locations and detailed information on community food banks in Rowan County. Detailed information for each food bank is provided by clicking on the four different green dots located on the map of Rowan County.
Updates from the Rowan County Department of Social Services
Amidst COVID-19, NCDHSS is allowing some flexibility for individuals who receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). FNS participants will soon be able to purchase groceries online using their EBT cards through Walmart and Amazon. This service will remain in place after the pandemic has passed.
Secondly, the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Program will soon be offered to any NC family whose children receive free or reduced lunches at school. Families do not need to apply for the P-EBT program and a new EBT card will be sent in the mail to you. Along with the card, information will be provided on how to activate and use this card.
Due to the COVID-19, all Able-Bodied Adults with Dependents (ABAWD) will be exempt from work requirements for FNS benefits. This applies to any months between
April 1, 2020 and the last day of the month following the month that the COVID-19 is lifted by the state of North Carolina.
For more information on these programs and Work First Cash Assistance, please call 704-216-8330 or visit this link to apply for Medicaid and FNS. You may also use the link to see if you are potentially eligible for Medical Assistance.