Working towards a healthier population while educating them on making better food choices is a goal of the MasterKey Food Assistance program in Sherman. The group made a big stride in furthering that goal last Friday when it accepted its very first truckload of fresh produce from the North Texas Food Bank, despite the snow and single digit temperatures.

The delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables every Friday is just on a trial basis to see how well it’s accepted, Board President Sandra Dean said. Last Friday was also the first delivery.

“The North Texas Food Bank said they just wanted to try this and we said yes,” Dean said. “We wanted to see if we could organize volunteers who’d be able to sort the food and get it out. They sent an entire truck of fresh produce. It was amazing!”

Dean said the goal was to get 100 families, but it was very short notice to get the word out and then it snowed on Friday.

“But we still had 30 families come through, so that left us with some excess, so that’s when we began contacting others,” Dean said. “We work with a ministry in Howe and they took some and we’ve worked with others here. This is for all people who need it in Grayson County, so we want to work with everybody.”

Per Dean, Crystal Brooks is in charge of the new fresh produce deliveries and is in the process of contacting other local and area food banks. The idea is for all the food banks to work and collaborate together so that all the produce is handed out each week, helping more people.

Encouraging the people using the food bank, located on FM 1417 in Sherman, to try fresh produce is a major focus for the ministry workers.

“We want to help introduce them to new types of food and produce, maybe get them some recipes and give them some understanding,” Dean said. “Hopefully, we’ll end up with people who are healthier on the other end. Cheap food is typically not the best food for you, but if you’ve been raised with that kind of food and you don’t know how to experience other kinds of fruits and vegetables we want to, in the future, kind of educate people so we can help them get to better health.”

Dean said the pantry sometimes has people come through who don’t know what spaghetti squash, so they won’t take it.

“We’ll quickly come up and say, here’s how you prepare it,” Dean said. “We’re working on a goal that while they’re standing in line at the food pantry, we’ll give them recipes and educate them on how to prepare certain foods.

To be eligible for the food pantry and fresh food giveaway, one must reside in Grayson County and have photo proof of household members and identifications of all the people living in the home. For information, call Master Key Ministries at 903-893-0009.