Community pushes for access to healthy food in Filipinotown

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Aug. 21, 2014

LOS ANGELES – A family fun day isn’t complete without music, games, and of course food, but at this event at the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans food was the main focus especially when it comes to eating healthy.

Ailene Ignacio of the Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance says access to healthy food is challenging in some urban neighborhoods. In their study of the 33 restaurants in the Filipinotown neighborhood, only four places were considered to provide healthy food.

To address the issue, the alliance has started the Fresh HiFi campaign which aims to bring more fresh produce at corner stores and produce delivery programs.

“I grew up in this area,” Ignacio said. “As you can tell I may not be the skinniest or the healthiest person, but knowing I can buy fresh produce in places I couldn’t before like that makes me really really excited.”

Vendors like Neri’s Food Truck are trying to do their part while still serving traditional Filipino foods. They now emphasize giving healthier options like veggie sandwiches.

“Very important the world is going towards that way. They’re very particular about the food that they eat,” said the truck’s owner Rhea Espino.

While finding places that sell healthy food can be difficult, community groups say paying for it is another challenge.

Crusaders Baptist Church has begun doing food drives twice a week, giving out healthier foods like produce and whole wheat products for free, with items donated from Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

“It’s a big need right here in the Filipino community because this is where the low income people are located, actually. So it’s a big big help to help people with free food,” said Pastor Jesse Celiz.

You can contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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