Los Angeles

Monthly Free Fruits and Veggies Giveaway Coming to East LA

The event will provide fresh, healthy foods to those who can't normally afford them.

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The American Heart Association will begin a monthly distribution of free vegetables and fruits to East Los Angeles starting on Wednesday.

The "A Tu Salud" program is in partnership with Keck Medicine of USC to address a lack of access to nutritious food in the Los Angeles area. 

A survey by the AHA recently revealed that residents struggle to afford healthier foods that are more expensive. As a result, their research showed that 46 percent of residents suffer from high blood pressure, 41 percent experience diabetes, and 35 percent have high cholesterol.

Each of these issues, according to the survey, put people at risk for cardiovascular disease - the leading cause of death among Latinos in Los Angeles County. 

"These chronic conditions such as cholesterol, high blood pressure and glucose can be controlled or prevented with a healthy diet and regular physical activity," said Jorge Monastersk, a cardiologist and volunteer at the AHA. 

Their report found that cost was the largest barrier preventing residents in East Los Angeles from accessing healthy foods. Instead, the AHA said that many turn to fast food. 

Some healthier options that will be distributed on Wednesday are tomatoes, cilantro, mushrooms, broccoli, lettuce, pears, apples and strawberries among other foods.

There will also be volunteers who will help famillies with other social services like WIC, DPSS and Cal Fresh.  

The event will be on the fourth Wednesday of each month, beginning on Feb. 27 at Hazard Park, located at 2230 Norfolk St. in Boyle Heights from 11 a.m. to noon. 

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