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Food bank to get ton of fresh fruit!

SPRINGFIELD -- As we get deeper into winter, it can be more difficult for families to find and afford fresh produce, so a local group is stepping up to help.
SPRINGFIELD -- As we get deeper into winter, it can be more difficult for families to find and afford fresh produce, so a local group is stepping up to help. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

The Central Illinois Foodbank is getting a huge donation from Springfield Rotary; 2,000 pounds of fresh fruit. The food bank says families are always in need this time of year, but right now, more than ever.

The Central Illinois Foodbank helps feed more than 100,000 people each year. But, in the past few weeks, hundreds of families across the state are recovering from the tornadoes on top of major cuts to food stamp benefits.

"Those are kind of extenuating circumstances that families are faced with."

So now, more and more people are relying on places like this to get by.

"Families are really struggling because they just don't have enough money to make ends meet."

There's usually a constant flow of boxed and canned goods to go around, but struggling families often do without one specific food group.

"Fresh produce. It's highly nutritious, but it's difficult to purchase. Sometimes, it's more expensive so families simply can't afford it."

That's why the food bank says its latest donation is so important; more than 2,000 pounds of fresh oranges and grapefruit.

"We could probably feed upwards of 1,000 people with the product."

People who otherwise might not get a piece of fresh fruit for awhile. The food bank says they're trying to take in and dish out more fresh donations year round since people need the nutrition whether it's in season or not.

"Hunger is 365 days a year and it's always important because families are always struggling."

The food banks says it's more difficult to handle fresh donations since they have such a short shelf life, so their best advice is, if you want to pump up the nutrition for someone in need, donate directly to a food pantry or invite a neighbor over for a meal.
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