Cowgirl Pizza launches fresh produce program
April 16, 2020
Finding it difficult to source fresh fruit and vegetables? Whether you are struggling financially or looking to boost your nutrient intake, Amy Goodson at Cowgirl Pizza is here to help.
Thanks to an anonymous donation of $2000, Goodson is making use of her connections to offer free bags of produce to anyone who might need them. She will also be using some of the donated money to provide produce to the Food Pantry, she says, and fruit to the Blessings in a Backpack group.
Meanwhile, she adds, “We’re going to have bags of produce available for pickup at Cowgirl Pizza at any time. You can just call and we’ll bring it out to your vehicle and send you on your way, so we can start getting some fresh food to people.”
The person who donated the money to make this happen contacted Goodson out of the blue. “She asked if I had any idea how to help people,” she says.
Goodson told her that people were ordering food for other people to be helpful or as a gesture of love, or to say thank you to frontline workers.
“I said that’s all we can really do without much of a traffic pattern going,” she says. In response, the caller said she was going to bring a check for $2000 and told her, “I want you to figure the best way to reach as many people as you can”.
From lemons, limes and apples to potatoes, onions and stay-ripe bananas, Goodson says she has access to plenty of options.
“We’ve got all kinds of really great options that they can’t move because they’re not going to the restaurants. They have discounted it pretty significantly, so you’re getting cases of bananas for $15 and options like that,” she says.
“We can really spread this out and I think we’ve got a couple of months’ worth of providing fresh produce to people who don’t have access to it otherwise.”
A number of Goodson’s customers have also left additional money and asked her to direct it towards someone else who needs it, she says.
“We’ve added that to the fund, it’ll kind of be a rolling supply and we’ll see how long we can make it last,” she says
Goodson has also managed to secure a product that’s been missing from the shelves for some time: 50 bottles of hand sanitizer.
“I’ve gotten hold of my chemical supplier and we’re going to get a case of two ounce hand sanitizers and we’re going to throw them in with the kids’ stuff especially. The first case should hit all of those who come to the food pantry and the kids that get their backpacks for the weekend,” she says.
The offer of fresh produce is open to everyone, Goodson stresses, no matter your financial or personal status. This project is intended to help families continue to get the nutrients they need.
“Come by and get a bag – feed your family, give them good stuff, give them fresh stuff,” she says.
“Health is wealth.”
Goodson would like to push the effort further by encouraging community members to help each other out with cooking their produce once they have it.
“I’d like to try to get community members to send in some recipes for some simple things that you can make,” she says. “It’s one thing to have the produce, but then to know how to use it, to cook it and what to put it in is a whole other ballgame.”
Drop off recipe cards at the restaurant with basic recipes – if you don’t have a card available to write on, Goodson has plenty on hand, she says. If your recipe contains an ingredient not currently available in the produce bags – or if you have a need for your own cooking – Goodson urges you to get in touch.
“I’ve got great access and those food supply companies are desperate for new avenues. If a restaurant gets to become a grocery store out of this, then so be it. We’ve got a big cooler, we’ve got storage space…any way I can help out with that connection to the food service company, I will do whatever I need to,” she says.
While the donation and Goodson’s efforts offer a great resource for the community, the project has the additional benefit of helping to support businesses that are further up the chain. Social distancing is having an undeniable impact on businesses in the service industry, which is in turn affecting the companies that supply them.
Goodson herself saw her bill for supplies drop by almost two thirds when the outbreak began to emerge – and disappear completely the week after. While she’s back to spending almost normally right now, she points out that she’s been more fortunate than some other small businesses.
“I’m really lucky to be in the position that I am, so if I can do anything to help, it’s whatever I can do. We’re all part of this community together,” she says.