Veggie Van visits school
October 20, 2017
Baldwin—During parent-teacher conferences last week at Baldwin Community Schools, families had an opportunity to receive a free bag of fruits and veggies. As part of the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Win with Wellness Fit Club program, a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Veggie Van provided the free food.
“Veggie van is a YMCA program where fruits and vegetables are purchased directly from local farmers and then sold at low prices to community members,” said Patricia Ezdebski, manager of the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital marketing department. “Spectrum Health has recently partnered with the YMCA on this program. At certain events, the fruits and vegetables are provided free of charge. This was the case in Baldwin, at the parent-teacher conferences.
“Fruit and vegetables were packaged into bags and given away, with recipe cards for area families,” Ezdebski stated.” In addition, free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings were available by the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Win with Wellness Fit Club staff. They also were on hand to register children at Baldwin Elementary School for the 2018 Fit Club program at the school.”
Luis Chen, YMCA Veggie Van manager, said the veggie van is centered out of Grand Rapids and drops off veggies to 14 different locations in the area.
“Our goal is to hand out 500 bags of groceries today,” he said, adding this is the first time the veggie van visited Baldwin. “Our goal is to provide community access to fresh produce. All of the fruits and veggies we hand out are locally grown. We are like a traveling farmer’s market. It is a nice way to give back to the community.”
Jessie Jones, community relations manager at Spectrum Health, assisted handing out bags of fruits and veggies.
“This is a kick off to our program, and we will pass out more veggies again this spring and summer as garden produce starts coming in,” she said.
Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,500 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan that served 996,000 members in fiscal year 2017. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees. The organization provided $372 million in community benefit during its 2017 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—in 2017 by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM. This is the sixth time the organization has received this recognition.
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