Corewell Health, YMCA Increase Access to Healthy Foods Through Veggie Van™ Partnership
Through their partnership,46,466 free pieces of produce were distributed to Michigan families in 2023.
November 28, 2023
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., – The Veggie Van™, a mobile farmers market, served 13 counties throughout Michigan this year, ensuring that free fruits and vegetables were available to individuals who otherwise had limited access. The program, a joint effort of Corewell Health™ and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, launched in 2018 to combat food insecurity and will continue for a sixth consecutive year in spring 2024.
“Food insecurity and the cost of unprocessed food are continuing to increase, and families are always looking for access to fresh affordable fruits and vegetables,” said Andrea Ellens, a registered dietitian for Corewell Health. “The Veggie Van™ program and our partnership with the YMCA has played a substantial role in ensuring that free healthy produce remains available for our neighbors in need.”
In 2023, 4,280 bags of free, locally grown, healthy fruits and vegetables were distributed, totaling:
- 5,640 peaches
- 10,135 lemons
- 6,840 limes
- 4,520 oranges
- 8,100 apples
- 3,800 zucchinis
- 2,600 jalapenos
- 3,120 ears of corn
- 1,711 heads of lettuce
“Through the collaboration between Corewell Health and our YMCA Veggie Van™, we continue to bridge the gaps that are identified in food deserts within all communities, both urban and rural, throughout Michigan,” said Belisa Melton, community collaborations director for YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. “I am so thankful to have been a part of it from the beginning until now.”
The Veggie Van™ offers access to free produce and nutrition information in rural and urban neighborhood locations such as parks, churches, and hospitals. Corewell Health team members, YMCA staff and other community organizations volunteer to distribute the bags on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested in learning more, please visit www.grymca.org/veggie-van/, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 616.885.5912.
People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our legacy of outstanding outcomes, innovation, strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Corewell Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides health care and coverage with an exceptional team of 60,000+ dedicated people—including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses providing care and services in 21 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities—and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving more than 1.3 million members. Through experience and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. For more information, visit corewellhealth.org.
Alexis Bolo Neal
Senior Communications Specialist