Kids Eat Smart program aims to address food insecurity and hunger in Central CA

More than 10,000 pieces of fruit were distributed over the last three years.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Inside several Vallarta Supermarkets across the Central Valley, children ages 12 and under can grab a free piece of fruit thanks to a program aiming to address food insecurity.

It's a small gesture with a large purpose.

"The Central Valley, unfortunately, has some of the highest rates of food insecurity and hunger across the state," said Valley Children's Guilds Center for Community Health director Simran Kaur.

Kaur said year after year, reports show one in four children in the Valley faces food insecurity, so they took action to raise awareness.

They partnered with Vallarta Supermarkets in Fresno, Visalia, and Tulare, where they launched the Kids Eat Smart Program, which runs through the summer, increasing access to healthy foods.

"Every summer, we run out of fruit because kids are responding well to this program," said Kour.

More than 10,000 pieces of fruit were distributed over the last three years. Vallarta Supermarkets director Loi Luu says the reaction from kids and families never gets old.

"They are excited. They are really happy to know that we can provide something for their kids that is healthy," said Luu.

The initiative also intends to introduce kids to healthy eating habits, and even though they've had positive results, Kour says the work is far from over.

"But the real long-term goal is to try and think of some long-term sustainable solutions to hunger and food insecurity for children of the Valley," said Kour.

They hope to expand the program to all Vallarta Supermarkets across the state.

Participating stores include:
  • Cedar and Dakota: 3850 N Cedar Ave, Fresno, CA 93726
  • Clinton and 99: 1951 W Clinton Ave, Fresno, CA 93705
  • Butler and Chestnut: 4831 E Butler Ave, Fresno, CA 93727
  • Porterville: 305 E. Olive Ave, Porterville, CA 93257
  • Tulare: 1111 N. Cherry St, Tulare, CA 93274
  • Visalia: 3112 Dinuba Blvd, Visalia, CA 93291

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