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Organization hosts 'Healthy School Market' in area schools after hours for kids, families

This month, the program is focusing on military families.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is working hard to promote healthy living for everyone, even if it doesn’t seem to fit in their budget.

They started offering the "Healthy School Market" for students and families, after hours at local schools.

This month, the focus is on military families.

Victory Elementary School in Portsmouth has many military students and 13News Now’s Nicole Livas checked out how the program is helping that important part of our community in Hampton Roads.

Michaelene Holland is a Navy wife and mom to three young boys. She said the program helps her family make ends meet and keep them healthy.

"Healthy fruits and vegetables are expensive so it definitely keeps it normal and keeps it consistent in households. We believe the more we serve it, the more they will eat it,” she said.

Holland also said the program helps her introduce new fruits and vegetables to her kids.

“Mostly oranges, carrots, apples and my oldest just learned he likes sweet potatoes so we are big on sweet potatoes right now," said Holland.

Ruth Jones Nichols, President and CEO of Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore said the Healthy School Market started last year as a pilot program. It's now in 16 school sites. It offers much more than a typical pantry.

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"They get nutrition education, taste tests, cooking demonstrations and we also hand out recipes," said Nichols.

 Nichols also said monetary donations help provide programs like this.

"We purchase the food for our Healthy School Markets and that's how we are able to provide variety to our families for what they really need and want."

She said the pop-up shop setting at schools allows families to get the food they need with dignity and respect because it is available to everyone.

The Foodbank is always looking for volunteers and donations. Click here to learn more about the organization.